Press Release: Seabirds Rescued and Trash Collected During International Coastal Cleanup Weekend

Volunteers from Premier Subaru removed 13 bags and 80 pounds of trash at Branford Point. Fishing line pictured here is one of the most dangerous types of trash for wildlife.

New Haven, Conn. – From sandy beaches to urban harbors and all the way up to inland tributaries in northern Connecticut, over 700 Connecticut residents joined half a million others around the world for International Coastal Cleanup Day, September 17. This year Save the Sound and volunteers not only picked up hundreds of pounds of trash, we even rescued two seabirds entangled by fishing equipment. 

“The most exciting thing from this year’s International Coastal Cleanup Day has been finding and releasing injured birds at Hammonasset State Park and Gulf Beach in Milford,” says Annalisa Paltauf, ecological assistant and volunteer coordinator. “Volunteers at cleanups there rescued a cormorant and seagull from fishing lines and hooks, some of the most dangerous types of trash wildlife can encounter.” 

Save the Sound hosts the Connecticut Cleanup each year, and while most of the cleanups occur the weekend of International Coastal Cleanup Day in mid-September, our program hosts these events throughout the entire year.

On Saturday alone, we collected trash at 27 different parks and waterways. The following day, seven cleanups boosted that number to 34. Cleanup season is still in full swing, with cleanups scheduled through mid-October; we encourage those interested to sign up for any of the 12 open to the public. 

“I look forward to receiving all the data from these cleanups so we can evaluate trends and strategize policy solutions to reduce trash at the source. From what we’ve seen come in already, our volunteers have made a huge impact on ensuring unsafe, unsightly, and ecologically-damaging trash doesn’t make its way into our rivers and Sound,” says Paltauf. “For the trash that does reach the Sound, we pull it out of the water directly during our SCUBA and kayak-based cleanups.”  

SEConn Skin Divers pulled up a variety of trash at New London’s Amistad Pier on International Coastal Cleanup Day. The top trash type here was glass bottles.

Trash travels. Much of what we see on Long Island Sound beaches originated in rivers and storm drains further inland. To stop trash in its tracks, we have encouraged cleanup captains to host cleanups at inland parks at waterways. Many of those happened last weekend, including in New Britain, Torrington, and Vernon.  

“Cleaning up parks and ponds inland has not only provided a feeling of satisfaction as we remove trash from these natural spaces, it has also been an opening for conversations with our volunteers and local residents about how their trash impacts Long Island Sound,” says cleanup intern Kristen Schick. “The cleanups I’ve hosted at Criscuolo Park in Fair Haven and Hanover Pond in Meriden are just a few places where we have been able to talk with people about the concept that trash travels.” 

Kristen Schick has hosted multiple cleanups at Criscuolo Park in New Haven this year.

This year, the Connecticut Cleanup has been sponsored by three Habitat Heros, Subaru of New England, Oris Watches, and Barrett Outdoor Communications, each donating $10,000 towards the effort. We are also extremely grateful for new and continued support from FactSet, HMTX Industries, Neuberger Berman, and True Benefit, who have helped to make this year’s funding a record year. 

We invite members of the press to cover upcoming cleanups listed on our website. To arrange media opportunities with Save the Sound staff, cleanup captains, and our volunteers, please contact Annalisa Paltauf, cleanup coordinator, via email before the event or Melissa Pappas, communications specialist, for day-of inquiries. 


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