Monday, August 13, 2012

Jumping right in: A new Intern's Perspective

I arrived in New York on Sunday evening, joining the Rozalia Project crew, along with another new intern, Zane. We quickly discovered that we have a bit in common, we are both from Michigan, and both go to Eckerd College in Florida. Most importantly, we are both passionate about finding and removing marine debris in any way that we can! The next day, we jumped right into duties as Rozalia Project spent the day at Larchmont Yacht Club. Throughout the day, we educated young sailors on marine debris and its impact on our oceans and waterways. I learned some shocking statistics from Rebecca as she presented- it takes around 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down into tiny microplastic! Kids and adults alike were enthusiastic in taking part in the  ROV navigation and were even more excited to pull up some trash. Our most interesting find was a fire extinguisher (Rachael and I accidentally discovered that it still works!). Zane and I were even able to practice driving the ROV on our very first day!

We spent our second day in New York at Beach Point Yacht Club and American Yacht Club. We had 3-year-olds, our youngest participants ever, at Beach Point in the morning. In the afternoon, we showed more students the ROVat American Yacht Club and pulled up a broom! Zane and I experienced our first Trash Race on shore with the kids and it was a whirlwind of trash and fun!

Wednesday brought a change of scene as we joined sailing students aboard the schooner Quinnipiack in New Haven, Connecticut and launched the ROV from her deck. Overall, we collected more than 286 pieces of marine debris and worked with 300 people of all ages over those three days!

The Rozalia Project crew is now in Portland Maine, where we will be educating, ROV-ing and collecting for the next few days. I am psyched to set sail towards Boston later in the week, as I am a beginner at sailing and I'm curious to see what debris may be awaiting us at the bottom of Boston Harbor.

Sarah Kollar, Rozalia Project Intern

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