Monday, December 9, 2019

Ocean Celebration

Celebrating 35 Years of Ocean Advocacy 

On Friday, November 1st over 200 supporters of Clean Ocean Action gathered to celebrate the organization’s 35 years of ocean advocacy. The event, formally called the “Ocean Celebration”, took place at Windows on the Water in Sea Bright, NJ.

Ocean Celebration Committee Members
Top L to R: Peeka Tildesley, Alison Fragale, Bonnie Torcivia, COA’s Cindy Zipf, Sandy Henning, Jeannette Yorke; Bottom L to R: Mary Jane O’Hare, Mary Thompson, COA’s Mary-Beth Thompson, B Mahon
Sporting various shades of ocean blue, the attendees were treated to a raw bar provided by Lusty Lobster, appetizers, dinner and desserts prepared by Executive Chef Pete Cruz, complimentary beer and wine from Shore Point Distributing Company during cocktail hour, and delicious mixed cocktails provided by Tito’s Handmade Vodka. The Stringbean Blues Band provided a mellow vibe for the cocktail hour, which was followed by the up-tempo rock of RipTide during the final hours of the event. While some danced the night away, others got their share of excitement from the robust silent auction and an exciting electric bike raffle. Overall, it was a huge success for the ocean as all of the funds raised from the night will go directly to Clean Ocean Action’s vital ocean protection programs.

L to R: Spencer Munson of Clean Ocean Action pictured with electric bike raffle winners Alex Purdon and Maya Speelmans, Tom Zapcic Photography
 COA is grateful to the remarkable committee: Alison Fragale, Anna Garofalo, April Puciata, B Mahon, Bonnie Torcivia, Derek Noah, Etta Kelly, Jeannette Yorke, Kathleen Gasienica, Kathleen Scatassa, Kathleen Tobin, Keri Branin, Linda Walker, Lydia Bagarozza, Mark Haviland, Mary Jane O’Hare, Mary Thompson, Peeka Tildesley, Sandy Henning, Stephanie Frankel, Stevie Thompson and Sue Germaine.

Jim Lobiondo (left) of Windows on the Water pictured with Cindy Zipf (right) of COA
Tom Zapcic Photography
Waves of thanks to our sponsors and supporters including Crazees Ice Cream, Guaranteed Plants & Florist, Litwin & Provence LLC, Montecalvo & Bayshore Family of Companies, Lusty Lobster, Rumson Wine & Spirits, Shore Point Distributing Company, Thompson Memorial Home, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Windows on the Water. 

From L to R: Matt and Rachel LaMura pictured with Anna and Joey Garofalo
RipTide rocking and rolling at the event, Tom Zapcic Photography

Thousands of Citizens Fall for NJ’s Beach Sweeps

Nearly 6000 volunteers gathered on Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 9:00am – 12:30pm at over 60 New Jersey beaches and waterways to remove harmful debris at COA’s 34th Annual Fall Beach Sweeps. Enthusiastic volunteers spent the day cleaning, collecting and tabulating debris that they removed from shorelines from Bergen to Cape May Counties. The data produced from this event is combined with the data from the Spring Beach Sweeps that was held on April 13, 2019, and will be published in an annual report that provides a deeper exploration into the pollution issues throughout the Jersey Shore. The 2019 Annual Beach Sweeps Report will be released in April 2020, prior to the 35th Annual Spring Beach Sweep that will be held on Saturday, April 25. To view Annual Reports from previous years, visit

Raritan Valley Community College Environmental Club
Throughout Beach Sweeps, volunteers are encouraged to note any out-of-the-ordinary finds. COA labels these finds as “The Roster of the Ridiculous”. Some of the items catalogued included: a baby bottle top, bike helmet, bike lock, bra strap, butter container, car seat, dental retainer, hard hat, 3 plastic Adirondack chairs, Juul pods, men’s deodorant, Nerf gun darts, lip gloss, railroad tie, sneaker, snowman doll, spray paint can, soy sauce packets, squid toy, swim goggles, tire, weed whacker string, white roses, and a Wonder Woman figurine. The most surprising item found during the Beach Sweeps was an engagement ring lost two years ago on the beach that was returned to the owner following the Sweep!

Middlesex County College at the Raritan Waterfront Beach Sweep in South Amboy, NJ
With gratitude, Clean Ocean Action thanks Absolut Vodka, Bank of America, Comcast, and ShopRite for their 2019 Beach Sweeps Statewide Sponsorships. The Fall Beach Sweeps are made possible by many generous supporters.

Waves of thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers, from the small to the tall, who participated in the Beach Sweeps! Together we can all make a difference for a cleaner ocean to be enjoyed by generations to come simply by picking up litter whenever and wherever we see it. For example, a piece of debris found on a central or northern New Jersey street can travel downstream and eventually end-up in the ocean.

Volunteer with completed data card at the Spring Lake Beach Sweeps
Special Thanks:
2019 County Sponsors: Caesars Entertainment, Enterprise, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Hackensack Meridian Health, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Jersey Central Power & Light, Kohl’s, Montecalvo Material Recovery Facility

2019 Site Sponsors: Bank of America, Baine Contracting, ComcastCares, OceanFirst Bank, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), SERVPro of Eatontown and Long Branch, ServPro of Howell/Wall, Torcon, Inc.

2019 Supporting Businesses: Asbury Park Roastery, Atlantic Bagel Co., Bookserdoo, Coffee Surf Co, D’Alessio’s Bagel Express, Jersey Shore Coffee Roasters, L.P., NuStar Energy, Ricoh USA, Rotary Club Interact, Water Witch Coffee

Mount Saint Mary at the Cliffwood Beach Sweeps Site

From Lake to Sea: Educating & Engaging Citizens

COA Education Ambassadors Deborah Ives and Lynn Mandon are on a mission: to educate students and citizens about pollution-causing water quality problems in northern NJ lakes, and to show how the pollution affects local lake communities and the downstream ocean. In 2019, freshwater Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB) forced the closure of both large and small lakes and reservoirs throughout NJ. These affected waterbodies included, among others, nearly all of Lake Hopatcong (Morris/Sussex County), the Spruce Run Reservoir (Hunterdon County), Rosedale Lake (Mercer County), with advisories in Deal and Sunset Lakes (Monmouth County), and Lake Mohawk (Sussex County). In Deborah and Linda’s own town of West Milford, Greenwood Lake was shut down.  These lake waters feed into the rivers and streams that, ultimately, drain into the ocean.

COA uses EnviroScape as an educational tool!

As trained volunteer COA Education Ambassadors, Deborah and Lynn have stepped-up to specifically educate students and residents in the northern lake communities using COA’s presentations and materials. They have already established ongoing partnerships with the NJ Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA) and the West Milford Association of Lakes. The COLA was so impressed by Deborah and Linda’s presentation about their plans that they unanimously awarded them $2000 to help purchase their own Enviroscape and other materials.  Stay tuned for updates as they launch their efforts in early 2020 with COA’s guidance.

Educating the Tall and the Small

Following two successful Student Summit programs at Island Beach State Park, NJ, and Gateway National Recreation Area – Great Kills Park, NY,  COA’s Education Coordinator Kari Martin has been busy this fall presenting to nearly 350 students of all ages at schools and organizations throughout NJ.

COA educates students about ocean pollution issues and engages them in discussions to participate in solutions.  Among other actions presented, students and teachers are encouraged to initiate local campaigns to reduce single-use plastics in their school and communities, organize cleanups, be mindful of their watershed, and educate others to change individual behaviors to improve and protect the environment.

COA’s Education Coordinator, Kari Martin conducting a training session for Education Ambassadors
To help meet the demand of school presentations around NJ, COA continues its Education Ambassador Program.  Retired, former, interested and aspiring educators are welcome to apply to COA to serve as on-call educators.  Education Ambassadors assist COA’s Education Coordinator by conducting presentations about ocean pollution issues to school and community groups across the state of NJ.  Ambassadors are trained in the following presentations: “Pointless Pollution,” “Enviroscape,” “Soak It Up,” and “Be the Sea Change.”  Recently, COA hosted two sessions to train the next Education Ambassadors, and to get them ready to speak at school assemblies and programs.

Interested in scheduling a program or COA’s educational materials?  Go to our website and follow the links for “Education Programs;” information about presentations, as well as educational resources and materials are available.  To request a presentation for schools or clubs, contact Kari Martin to receive a “Presentation Request Form.”