US Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Quonset Point, RI

Earth Day Community Service at Rose Island


Click on image to view at full size The 22nd of April was Earth Day, and the NCBC Battalion Sea Cadets celebrated the event with a day of community service in Narragansett Bay. The location was unique - Rose Island, an eighteen acre bird sanctuary in the middle of the bay. On the southern tip of the island sits a carefully preserved lighthouse and several buildings, including the keeper's home. The island and lighthouse are the property of the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation, a non-profit preservation and environmental education organization. The mission of the foundation is to maintain the historic and environmental integrity of Rose Island, while maintaining the lighthouse and associated structures in as near to an operational state as possible.

The mission of the Sea Cadets was engaging - to survey, collect, catalog, and containerize the marine debris that had accumulated on the shoreline of the island over the winter season. The physical location of the island provides a unique barometer of the health of the bay, collecting marine debris that yields an accurate assessment of what's floating around in the marine environment. Shoreline surveys along the mainland beaches don't give that kind of data, since much of the debris there is populated with the usual assortment of trash that one would expect from human habitation. The Cadets, wearing gloves and BDUs appropriate for this kind of work, catalogued a wide assortment of marine debris not typically seen from the mainland sides of the bay. Much of it was related to the fishing industry - floats, pieces of nets and boats, and even twelve shotgun shell casings.

This day of community service by the Sea Cadets was very appropriate for Earth Day, providing a wealth of environmental education for the Cadets. This labor-intensive task was well appreciated by the staff of the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation, and we are grateful to Ms. Charlotte Johnson, the Executive Director of the Foundation, for supporting this effort.

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Cadets head out to the island.
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Cadet spots a seal in the water.
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Ms. Johnson briefs Cadets on island history.
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The lighthouse mission is explained.
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Charlotte Johnson paints the picture.
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Cadets take in the view.
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Beach survey operations.
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Cadets examine bits of debris.
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The island's chief investigator takes stock.
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Cadets begin the containerizing operation.
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Sorting through a debris collection station.
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Approx. 400 lbs of marine debris collected.





 
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