Friday, September 11, 2009

Conservation Commission Conducts Annual Clean Up of Ogunquit Beach

By Jim Kanak
Staff Columnist
The Ogunquit Conservation Commission conducted its sixth annual Beach Clean Up Day on Sept. 5, and the turnout of volunteers was the best it’s ever been. Close to 30 volunteers joined the commission members to conduct the sweep, which covered the beach area from the Main Beach to Moody, the area along the Ogunquit River, and the parking area.
“This looks like the biggest turnout ever,” said commission Chairman Mike Horn. “There’s a lot of people here that we don’t know.”
One familiar group was the international Volunteers for Peace, a group of young people from around the world that visits the United States to engage in various community service projects. Housed at Laudholm Farm during their stay in southern Maine, the group annually helps with the clean up. This year, five young people were involved, including Yuna Saito from Japan, Youcef from France, Craig Smeaton from Scotland, Jens Widany from Germany, and Minjeong Kook from South Korea.
Youcef said the group liked the area. “It’s very nice here,” he said. “I’d like to come back.”
Commission member Doug Mayer assigned volunteers to different parts of the clean up. He asked member Bob Joyner to take the young people and cover the area from Footbridge Beach to Moody.
The young people had plenty of help. The first volunteers arrived before the scheduled 9:30 a.m. start. They included Matt Dunn, a Massachusetts resident with a home on Ogunquit, Linda Parrish of Perkins Cove, and Chris Poirier and Jeff Davis of Wells.
Dunn said it was his first time at the clean up. “I don’t usually do this but I saw the sign for the clean up in town,” he said. “I hate litter. When I see it on the beach, I hate it even more.”
Parrish said she was a veteran of the clean up. “I like to do this because we love our beach,” she said. “It’s astounding what people leave behind. The beach is pristine and we want to keep it that way.”
Poirier echoed Parrish’s words. “This is the most beautiful beach,” he said. “I come to the beach all the time and use it. This is a great way to give back to it.”
Davis made reference to the gorgeous weather that dawned on Saturday. “It’s not really volunteering,” he said. “It’s such a beautiful day. It’s great to be outside.”
Other early arrivals included Ogunquit brothers Peter and Chris Woodbury and Jack Connerty. Mayer sent them off to pull weeds near the entrance to the parking lot there.
Commission member Madeline Brown was in charge of transporting the abundance of donated food that was available to the volunteers. She delivered product from the Village Food Market, Jackie’s Too, Hannaford’s, Congdon’s Doughnuts, the Bread and Roses Bakery, and Amore Breakfast and Café.
Member Brad Sterl manned the registration table. The final volunteers to head out were Emily Enos of Beverly, Mass. and her daughter, Alexandra (8) and niece Sarah Towle (12). Emily saw the registration table and went to gather the two girls to come back and help. “We come here every Labor Day,” she said. “This morning I saw them setting up. I like to get the kids involved in things like this. I think this is the most beautiful beach in the world. I want to keep it that way.”
Photo caption: Volunteers for Peace helped again at the Ogunquit Beach Clean up. From left, Minjeong Kook, Jens Widany, Craig Smeaton, Youcef, and Yuna Saito. (Jim Kanak photo)