IT'S IN THE BAG – Loren Bogart was among volunteers who scoured the Snee-Oosh Beach area for trash and debris Monday afternoon as part of annual La Conner area Earth Day clean-up activities. Earth Day was launched nearly 50 years ago, in 1970, to promote environmental protection and preservation of the planet. – Photo courtesy of Bill Reynolds
Thinking globally and acting locally. That’s been the annual Earth Day game plan for a committed corps of La Conner area volunteers. Monday was no exception, despite it being a regular work day beset with gray skies and chilly wind gusts. Coordinated by Kelly Harper, the group met at Snee-Oosh around 5:30 p.m. to collect debris and trash littering the beach and surrounding neighborhood. The focus this year was on plastic and styrofoam, both of which are harmful to the marine life of Skagit Bay and adjoining waters. “That’s the stuff that ends up getting flushed out at high tide,” said volunteer Loren Bogart, who lives near Snee-Oosh Beach. “The problem when that happens is we can’t pick it up and it ends up out in the bay.” Bogart praised local efforts to reduce the impact of plastic on the environment, including the Town of La Conner’s ban on plastic shopping bags. He also noted increased awareness on the part of consumers opting for biodegradable straws as opposed to those made of plastic. In many cases, said Bogart, 69, it’s younger shoppers who are leading the way. “Pretty soon,” he predicted optimistically, “kids won’t know what a plastic straw is.” Harper has long set a pro-environment example for youth – starting with her own children. “The kids and I did this for years,” she said, “but usually after the Fourth of July.” Earth Day eventually became the designated date for environmental activity at Snee-Oosh, this following a Shorewood Homeowners Association decision to place a dumpster there each year between May and October. “Most people,” Bogart said, “are really good about using it.” Prior to employing the dumpster, Snee-Oosh would require major clean-ups every July 5 due to beach-goers setting off fireworks en masse on Independence Day. In a much more quiet, though equally patriotic fashion, it was Earth Day that was celebrated at Snee-Oosh Beach on Monday.