One of my proudest mommy moments came when barely two year old son started filling in a whole at the beach that had been left behind by a beach goer. He said, "Oh no gotta help the sea turtles". It made my heart sing. While I love everything about playing at the beach I think it is so important to teach my children that the beach is a living environment that exists to support more than a fun frolic on a summer day.
1. Don't bring every toy, tote, and towel you have. People with giant bags of plastic toys always leave one or two behind. Hauling stuff to the beach is a huge bummer. Stick to what you can easily carry. In our family, as soon as you are a steady walker, you must carry your toys of choice. I carry the bulk of beach booty: the thermal, the towels, ect. But, nobody in my crew is walking empty handed.
2. Leave it better than you found it. I always pack gloves and a trash bag in my tote. When we find plastic trash and general nastiness on the beach I can bag it and drop it off at a trash bin on my way out. I have the kids keep an eye out for such items and it is a fun game that we all feel good about.
3. Dig as much as you like, but stomp out your sandcastles, fill and flatten any dug in wholes when it's time to go. Leaving your mark on nature is just not a good idea. This is especially true near water ways. Mountain Streams, Lakes, Marshes, and Shorelines are habitats for more than just the large animals you see. There are many smaller creatures that are negatively impacted when we disturb their homes.
4. Look for signs of wild life. One of the beautiful things about limiting your toys is that you are able to notice so much more of your surroundings. There is magic everywhere outside. Looking for signs of wildlife serves as a great reminder that we need to be good stewards of their home. It also helps increase our own awareness of safety.
5. Mind your food. We always pack a snack or two when we head to the beach. But bringing plastic bags and bottles to the beach is a recipe for an accidental litter accident. Try to use reusable food totes that you can easily keep and eye on and are not likely to blow away. I like to add a little "To Be Cleaned" bag inside my thermal. Then we can easily drop our empty dishes into that bag and they don't get lost or mixed up in with our ready to eat foods. While your cleaning up pick up any food scraps that may have fallen out. Don't feed the wildlife, ever.
Posted by WN Mama