Youth Environmental Clean Up - Flint 2018

Ian Somerhalder Foundation Youth

Plastic is cheap. It can be molded into any conceivable shape and serve just about any purpose. It’s durable and lasts for hundreds of years. But there’s one big problem. Our planet is drowning in a sea of plastic, dangerously putting life on Earth at risk. Creating plastic consumption awareness on a global scale is a mission ISF Youth are fiercely passionate about, and for these eco-warriors, they’re determined to have their voice and message heard.

ISF returned to Flint in May to conduct its second Youth Day cleanup at Bluebell Beach. Members of the ISF Youth Team, along with local children and their families, participated in an environmental cleanup to help free Flint’s waterways from plastic and other damaging pollutants. See our visit in 2017 HERE.

      

Upon arriving, youth were introduced to other eco-friendly like minds before tackling the shoreline of Bluebell Beach along Mott Lake, a summer hot spot for families and also home to many of Michigan’s precious wildlife. ISF Youth Alumni Logan Fournier says, “It’s important to show other kids our age the dangers of plastic pollution. Just because you throw it away doesn’t mean it goes away. Most of the plastic we’ve created still exists on our planet today.”

 After receiving bamboo work gloves, garbage grabbers, and a complimentary ISF cinch bag made from recycled material, youth and their families headed to the sandy shoreline to see what they could find. At first glance, the beach looked clean. But hidden just beneath the water’s surface was an entirely different story. Members quickly found themselves in knee-deep freshwater, stretching across low hanging branches to pluck waste from the giant lake.

      

It didn’t take long before piles of soggy waste were slung upon the beach. Items pulled from the water included: a makeup kit, fishing bobbers, a bag of shrimp, soda cans, plastic water bottles, styrofoam cups, chip bags, straws, fishing line, netting, and plastic bag after plastic bag. In all, the team removed over 70 pounds of litter from the shoreline during their four-hour visit, most of which was plastic.

Once their project was complete, they gathered for a picnic lunch where they shared their passions and ideas for a greener future. ISF Director of Youth, Jules Trace, brainstormed with the youth ways to further educate society on how changes in daily habits can positively impact our planet. “A cleanup is not just a lesson on littering, recycling, or keeping our water clean, but a larger awakening to our individual consumption of plastics, one use items, or even items that could have been reused,” explains Trace. “Even though our waste might not be right in front of us now, it remains somewhere. Any age can rethink plastic consumption.”

  

Local ISF Youth Volunteer Alumni Dylan Fournier adds, “It’s important for youth to come together and learn from each other ways to protect our environment and our future before we cross the point of no return. I’m happy ISF came back to an area I’ve lived my whole life to help spread this crucial message.”  To the kid's excitement, several families of geese lived along the water's edge. They were proudly dubbed "The ISF Geese Family," and the day was dedicated to them, their homes and their future.

Concerns about the health of our planet and its creatures was a common discussion among the youth. In fact, those who participated in this project are so passionate about their message, they’ve already begun planning another cleanup of their own for this summer.

Youth creating inspiration for youth. Youth coming together for a common purpose. It’s our youth who are the heart and soul of this social movement, for today’s youth are tomorrow’s environmental stewards. And with these passionate leaders blazing the way, it’s safe to bet we stand a good chance at turning this crisis around!

The ISF Youth Team sends a heartfelt thank you to the companies, volunteers and individual donors who helped make this Youth Volunteer Day possible including Nature’s Path OrganicHoliday Inn Express of Grand Blanc and Kroger of Shelbyville, IN. Please donate toward our Programs & Services to help make another Youth Volunteer Day possible!

From our Amazon Wishlist we received:

○ 590 eco-trash bags
○ 540 recycling bags
○ 100 Latex-free biodegradable gloves
○ 20 pairs of bamboo garden gloves size small for kids
○ 4 pairs of bamboo garden gloves size medium
○ 4 child size safety vests
○ 2 pairs of bamboo garden gloves size large
○ Boxed Water is Better
○ 20 trash grabbers

 

Article written by Wendi Fournier
Photography by Jim Fournier
Edited by Heidi Trace