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Connecting with Seasonal Employees on Marine Debris on the Gulf Coast

MAY 13, 2019 — On May 1, the Marine Debris Program’s Gulf of Mexico Regional Coordinator, Caitlin Wessel, worked with the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the beachfront towns of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama to educate their summer employees about marine debris issues through a one-day class.

Two women working at a table.
Caitlin Wessel with the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) Education Coordinator, Angela Underwood demonstrating how to filter a water sample to identify microplastics. Image credit: Weeks Bay NERR.

Caitlin met with Orange Beach Coastal Resources staff to connect on marine debris and microplastics, which participants were able to isolate from water samples and view under a microscope. The class also included a trip to the beach to sample for pre-production plastic pellets, small plastic pellets used to manufacture larger plastic products, and learn how to use the Marine Debris Tracker app and MyCoast app to record debris. Caitlin also got an opportunity to learn about both towns ‘Leave Only Footprints” campaigns that prohibit leaving items on the beach overnight.

For more information, please contact Caitlin.Wessel@noaa.gov.

Return to OR&R Weekly Report.