2009-09-11 / Community

RWA 'Environmentors'And Kulanu Camp Team Up

Group shot of volunteers. Group shot of volunteers. Local youth and volunteers descended onto the dunes of Rockaway recently for an intensive conservation effort. Youth from the RWA Environmentor program were joined by Kulanu Summer Camp and Green Apple Corps to help rid the Beach 44 Street area of excess debris and dumped items that had stifled the site and become an environmental hazard and an eyesore in the community.

The young people worked diligently under the July heat to complete the conservation efforts. Many of the young volunteers that participated live in Far Rockaway but rarely come to the beaches located in the area. Even the volunteers couldn't help but to marvel at the beautiful scenery that surrounded them amidst the rubbish - the youth darted off to collect debris while capitalizing on the opportunity to catch tadpoles in nearby puddles under the boardwalk and occasionally pick dune flowers.

"It's gorgeous in this area but the resources are under-utilized and it's a shame," noted Jeanne Du- Pont, director of RWA. "The environment is beautiful when you look past the litter. But there are no lifeguards to encourage community members to use the beaches, there are no concessions to provide relief from the heat, the best that we can do at RWA is to continue to bring youth and volunteers to the area to raise awareness and to help with the rejuvenation in hopes that people will begin to use these spectacular beaches."

Before and after of small area that volunteers improved at Beach 44 Street. Before and after of small area that volunteers improved at Beach 44 Street. Indeed, it was a beautiful summer day and yet only two men were seen occupying the boardwalk - mainly, inquisitively watching the youth as they went about their work of collecting tires, toasters and miscellaneous paper items that had been strewn on the ecologically fragile dune area.

The efforts to encourage stewardship were a tremendous success as the youth and volunteers joined together to make a significant impact on the site. The cleanups conducted by RWA and other partnering groups have begun to set Rockaway on the path to encouraging a new relationship with Rockaway and the ways in which the peninsula is viewed. RWA will lead several cleanups before the end of the year and welcomes volunteers to come out to build new relationships with community members as they make their way through the peninsula.

Youth volunteers with dumped tires. Youth volunteers with dumped tires.

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