Join thousands of volunteers in picking up Great Lakes shorelines during the Great Lakes Alliance’s popular annual September Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup on Sept. 20, 2008, part of the International Coastal Cleanup.

New and returning volunteers are needed to help clear beaches and shorelines during this year’s 9 a.m.-noon event, to be held in the Great Lakes states of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Times and dates may vary depending on location."The cleanup helps our Great Lakes shorelines in two ways," said Jamie Cross, Adopt-a-Beach coordinator in Michigan. "Our volunteers visibly improve beaches by clearing away trash, and their efforts help us inform the public about why we shouldn’t leave litter on our beaches in the first place."

Part of the world’s largest shoreline cleanup, volunteers in the September Adopt-a-Beach event pick up thousands of pounds of trash from lakeshores in a single day.Last year more than 4,100 volunteers participated in the region, clearing shorelines from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula east to Belle Isle in Detroit over to Milwaukee. Some highlights from the event:


More than 1,900 volunteers visited more than 100 sites, collecting nearly 9,000 cigarette butts at Grand Haven State Park alone. They collected more than 10,000 pounds of trash along Michigan shorelines and waterways.


More than 1,770 volunteers picked up 8,500 pounds of trash, filling 667 garbage bags and 428 recycling bags.


Volunteers conducted cleanups in six counties and on two Great Lakes.


More than 300 volunteers picked up 1,418 pounds of trash.

Beach litter is more than unsightly, it’s dangerous. Small children play with cigarette butts, fish become entangled in balloons, and birds’ beaks are trapped in food packaging.

Adopt-a-Beach participants do more than pick up trash, however. Volunteers further the Alliance’s clean beaches education campaign by entering their findings into a growing database that helps identify the most prevalent sources of beach litter.

Meanwhile, as Adopt-a-Beach grows in popularity, the program is expanding its presence in other Great Lakes states. This marks the third year of the cleanup in Northwest Indiana and its fourth year in Southeast Wisconsin. The event is open to anyone: families, individuals, businesses, schools and community groups.

The Alliance has coordinated volunteer efforts in the Illinois and Michigan cleanups since 1991 as part of the annual International Coastal Cleanup, which is coordinated by the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C.

The Michigan cleanup is supported by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Coastal Management Program and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and L.C., Frederick S. Upton Foundation, Shaw and Betty Walker Foundation and Consumers Energy Foundation.

To participate in a cleanup or for more information visit and follow the Adopt-a-Beach  sun to register or contact Jamie Cross at the Great Lakes Alliance, 616-850-0745 ext. 12.