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84 Footies + 12 Trash Bags = Cleaner Oceans

There was something for every kind of Footie at last Saturday's community cleanup of the Pond Lily Nature Preserve in New Haven.

For the mathematician, there was the irresistible pull of tallying the trash collected: 316 food wrappers, 103 grocery bags, 3 balloons, 3 tires and more than 200 tiny pieces of plastic. For those missing community gatherings after a year-plus of pandemic restrictions, there was the fun of working together in common cause. For the budding environmentalist, there was the sheer satisfaction of knowing your gloved hands (and mechanical trash grabbers!) helping protect one of New Haven's wild places and keeping harmful trash out of the ocean.

The cleanup on September 18 was part of International Coastal Cleanup Day, a yearly event organized nationally by the Ocean Conservancy, whose motto is "harnessing the power of people to fight ocean trash." Foote science teachers Kim Birge-Liberman and Andrew Zielinski signed up as team captains though Save the Sound to lead a group of Foote students, parents and staff in a cleanup at the Pond Lily Preserve in Westville.

The location has special significance to Foote because it's on the West River, where for more than two decades Foote 9th graders have been conducting research on water quality and invasive species as part of their field biology class.

Last Saturday was picture-perfect September and Foote made a great showing at the cleanup. In total, 48 adults and 36 children showed up (many donning Foote gear) to help protect this special slice of wild New Haven. Wielding trash buckets and mechanical trash pickers, the volunteers fanned out to clean roughly a mile of riverside habitat.

The team cleaned up a lot of typical trash (cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic straws, bottles and cans, plastic foam packaging and old tires) as well as some more unusual items (a shopping cart, a traffic cone and the top of a litter box).

In total, the Foote team filled 12 trash bags with 250 pounds of garbage. As team captains, Mr. Z and Ms. B-L carefully cataloged each and every item collected for their report to the Connecticut state coordinator.

Thanks to everyone who came out to spend part of a Saturday cleaning up our community!

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Since 1916, The Foote School has provided child-centered education that nurtures creativity, excellence and joy in learning.

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