Ten of us left Michigan Tech at 7:15 a.m. Saturday, March 7, 2009. We drove all day and through the night to arrive at the Royal American Hospitality at 8:00 a.m. the next morning. The trip was thankfully relatively uneventful except for a lot of male bonding in the back seat…. STEN!
Sunday was spent recovering and researching the situation on the beach. We were all impressed with the gorgeous weather and fine quartz sand that made up the beach. The water was beautiful but a little too cold for some members of the team.
Monday we kicked of the day with a trip to the local state park, St. Andrews. There, we were introduced to the natural state of the beach and were informed on the diverse ecosystem that thrives in a clean environment. Next we headed to the spring break zone and began our work.
We handed out garbage bags and talked to the spring breakers and locals. We were pleasantly surprised to find the most common response of the students to be “thank you,” “dude, that would be so key,” and “yeah, dude, that s***’s legit.” When asking for suggestions we got such responses as, “more trash bins closer to the water” and “people will recycle and throw away their trash if it is convenient for them.”
Tuesday we started our day early with a visit to the Tourism Development Committee’s meeting. By chance, one of their main focuses was the garbage situation on the beach. Briana addressed the committee and told them what we had discovered from our two days on the beach. We recommended using preventative measures such as providing bags at beach entrances and adding signage to pressure tourists and locals to keep the beach clean. The committee was very receptive and very appreciative of our efforts at the beach.
After the meeting and a quick lunch in the van, we hit the beach for a second day of handing out bags. Groups remembered us from the day before, asking for bags and making comments such as, “We’ve been waiting for you.” It was awesome to see groups taking the time after we handed them a bag to clean up their area.
Our experience so far has been wonderful. The facilities where we are staying have been more than adequate. We have access to a kitchen, internet, laundry, pool, pier, and volleyball court. The groundskeeper, Michael, has been more than accommodating and is always willing to help us out and make us feel welcome.