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Volunteers sought for Scarborough Marsh, beach cleanup day

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Volunteers sought for Scarborough Marsh, beach cleanup day

SCARBOROUGH — Earth Day is all about giving back to the planet, and nowhere is that more obvious than the annual marsh and beach cleanup day, the Saturday after Earth Day.

More than 100 residents came out last year for the event, and Linda Woodard of the Audubon Society said she expects at least that many again this year.

"At Scarborough Marsh we had two big storms, so there's a lot of grass on the (Audubon) parking lot and all around," she said. "We need some extra help from people this year. We might be painting the floor because it got a little wet during the storms."

The cleanup day is not limited to the marsh. Years ago, efforts to clean up the town's beaches were separate from the marsh. But Woodard said now the dedicated volunteers move around from the marsh, to Pine Point, to Higgins Beach, bagging trash, repairing boardwalks and cleaning birdhouses.

"We've had people bring their own canoes and do cleanup that way," she said.

The cleanup is important, as migratory birds will soon be arriving in the area to nest and raise their young. Woodard said the protected marsh acts as a nursery for many species, which are vulnerable to habitat changes and pollution.

"There's always a lot of trash left over from the winter. It gets into the water and animals will eat it, thinking it's food," she said.

Woodard said people are often surprised about what they find in the marsh or along the beaches.

"It's a lot of household things, like tires, TVs, paint cans. It's just amazing," she said.

Cleanup supplies, including garbage bags and gloves, are provided as part of a $7,000 grant from the National Audubon Society and Toyota. The grant also funds monitoring of invasive plant species and last fall's cleanup day.

The Earth Day cleanup will be Saturday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to noon with a rain date of Sunday, April 25. Interested volunteers can go to www.scarboroughmaine.com/marsh/cleanup.shtml for more information or to sign up.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net