Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Interning with Save The Bay

By Courtney Danforth, Save The Bay Intern

Saving the Bay is not the only thing that Save The Bay is doing – they are saving the planet and taking their local communities with them. So be on the look out, and don’t be afraid to get involved! During my time interning at Save The Bay, I have never witnessed a group of people more dedicated to the goal of bettering their environment; and what a goal to have.

Roughly four months ago, I first set foot in the Providence Save The Bay Fields Point building. I was surprised to discover that the building itself plays a role in Save The Bay’s mission to save the environment, a building project made entirely possible by STB volunteers and donors. It offers natural lighting, roof plantings, recycled flooring, solar paneling, storm water management and more. The land on which the building sits, once a landfill,  is now home to many different animals. Just beware: you might stumble upon a humble snake just trying to get by in the parking lot.

A few weeks into my internship, I participated in my first International Coastal Cleanup. I had been writing a couple of press releases on the subject and was intrigued by the people I interviewed and their dedication to helping keep their local beach communities clean. Growing up for a part of my life in the little beach town of Narragansett, I felt it was more than necessary to attend a cleanup. How could I have gone my entire life not participating in something so global and charitable?

So, on the slightly cloudy Saturday of September 19th , I drove down to Narragansett to pick up my mom for our first ever International Coastal Cleanup. We arrived in Galilee, at Salty Brine State Beach just as the clouds subsided and revealed a mild, clear day. I was given a clipboard and a tally sheet to record the types of trash found, while my mom held the trash bag and put on some plastic gloves. We combed the beaches and found mostly cigarette butts, my mom stopping in her tracks to inspect an unidentifiable piece of debris every 10 minutes or so.

“Another butt, a butt, another butt, did you write it down on your tally sheet? Five more butts. What is this, a piece of rope?” my mom uttered as she held out a handful of the burnt orange and white stubs along with a tiny piece of rope. My tallying was apparently not fast enough for her findings.

Amazed at the large amount of tiny trash we managed to collect in a short amount of time, we concluded our first ever International Coastal Cleanup. It will not be our last. It now makes more sense to me why people become passionately involved in coastal cleanups. Taking a deep breath when we finished, I was able to look at a more pristine, more breathable coastline in front of me.

I am leaving this internship with a deeper appreciation for Rhode Island’s coastal habitat. I was able to get my feet in the water (both literally and figuratively) during my time here at Save the Bay, and I hope you do too.