OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Sailors stationed on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI), and community members from the City of Oak Harbor Parks Department and Washington State University (WSU) Extension participated in a beach cleanup to commemorate Earth Day 2013, April 26.
The more than 40 volunteers met at the Oak Harbor Marina and fanned out onto Maylor Beach and Windjammer Park.
"It is important to be a good steward of our natural resources by ensuring that the land entrusted to us is kept free of pollution," said Michael Barenburg, NASWI environmental services supervisor. "A clean beach provides a healthy habitat for flora, fauna, and recreational opportunities for people."
The volunteers were given gloves and garbage bags, and there were also dumpsters staged throughout to ease the disposal.
"We are trying to create a climate where people think about their environment, and how it interacts with their lives in the short term as well as the long term," Barenburg said.
Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Steven Deng, assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 131, said that he wanted to do something to give back to the community surrounding NASWI.
"The beach clean up allows me to help my community," Deng said. "I also do not like seeing trash on the beach, so it is nice to help."
Scott Chase, program coordinator shore stewards with WSU Extension, said the beach litter that accumulates is a hazard for a lot of the marine animals and birds, because it is often mistaken as food and can be fatal.
"The beach cleanup is done with the mindset that we need to be mindful of how we treat our land each and every day," Barenburg said. "I would like to continue with this environmental outreach throughout the year."
Through April and May, Navy installations and tenant commands within Navy Region Northwest will be participating in Earth Day related events like cleanup projects, a fish planting and recycling competitions.
Navy and Marine Corps commands officially celebrate Earth Day April 22. Earth Day officially started April 22, 1970 as a day to reflect on the planet's environment and ways to help keep it healthy.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest, visit www.navy.mil/local/nwpacen/.