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Show your love for Lake Superior by cleaning the beach

Lilly Reilly and Josie Nichols are members of Girl Scout Troop 4174. Their troop is working to clean up a section of Park Point Beach. Hundreds of people across the Great Lakes are participating in Adopt-a-Beach events in September. (Photo by Sandy Robinson)1 / 3
The Alliance for the Great Lakes keeps data on the types of litter collected on beaches. This pie charts shows that in Duluth, smoking-related litter makes up 39 percent of all litter collected since 2010 Adopt-a-Beach events. Plastic comprises 39 percent. ( / 3
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Many of us who live in Duluth love living next to Lake Superior. The Alliance for the Great Lakes encourages you to show a little Great Lakes love by joining an Adopt-a-Beach event.

This September you can join a "party" to help clean up the beaches of Lake Superior. As of Budgeteer deadline, eight parties are planned in Duluth. Some are private groups and some are open to the public. People will gather to pick up trash on Park Point, Brighton Beach, the Lakewalk and along creeks. It's all part of the Alliance for the Great Lakes which spearheads September Adopt-a-Beach events to clean up beaches.

This is the 25th year of Adopt-a-beach events. For the past three years Duluth Girl Scout Troup 4174 has cleaned up trash near the Park Point Lafayette Community Club beach. Their leader, Sandy Robinson, said the middle-school girls are working on their Bronze Badge, which includes learning about sustainability and educating others.

The girls participated in an Adopt-a-Beach event in 2014 and also in a beach cleanup this past August. Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza, a professor at University of Wisconsin-Superior and expert in microplastic debris, visited the troop to teach them about water pollution.

They learned that it's the little things causing problems. Small particles of plastic pose a danger to birds and fish that eat them.

Jesse Schomberg, an educator for the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program, said cigarette butts are the most common pollutant along our beaches: "They stick around for hundreds of years. Nicotine and other chemicals leach out."

Robinson agreed, "It's not a lot of big garbage." Her troop is also working to bring awareness to the issue of cigarette butts and plastic.

The troop spoke to the Park Point Community Club this summer about invisible pollutants like micro-beads and other plastics in beauty products. They brought a photo display of visible pollutants picked up along the beach from a previous cleanup day.

The Girl Scouts brought posters to illustrate the problems of trash on the beach. "It was enlightening and exciting to see young scientists," said Dawn Buck, president of the Park Point Community Club. "They give us hope for the future."

You can sign up to join an Adopt-a-Beach event by visiting Use the word "Duluth" to search for an event nearby. You may organize your own cleanup event or join an event open to the public.

The cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup, Sept. 17 worldwide, but regional events happen throughout the month.

Adopt-a-Beach cleanups

Sept. 11, 10 a.m. Leif Erikson Park to 16th Avenue E.

Sept. 22, 9 a.m. Park Point harbor side, 13th Street to Ecumen

Sept. 23, 9 a.m. Brighton Beach. Please bring gloves.

Sept. 24, 9 a.m.Park Point Lafayette Community. 28th Avenue South (St. Andrews' by the Lake) to 34th Avenue South. Gloves and bags provided.

Sept. 24, 1 p.m. Endion Station (Corner of the Lake Park) to Fitger's Grille

Naomi Yaeger

Naomi Yaeger is a freelance writer and the former editor of the Budgeteer. See her blog at