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    Posted December 7, 2012 by
    San Diego, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    What was your best moment of 2012?

    More from gailpowell



    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     iReporter gailpowell sent in this image of volunteers working to clear North Ocean beach in San Diego, California, of trash for her favorite moment of 2012. "I loved how the photo captures people enjoying the ocean while others worked around them," she said of the image, taken by an intern and fellow beach lover she volunteers with. "I have never lived very far from the ocean or bay, I think it's in my blood."
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    I don't get out too much any more but when I do, I love to volunteer my time at beach clean-ups. Sometimes my son and I will walk the sand together and work as a team, picking up trash and debris.

    Most often though, I will offer to man a volunteer table where either Surfrider San Diego or Coastkeeper organizes clean-up events. Usually a couple hundred people will show up to these and their labor is what has helped keep our beaches and bays clean.

    I will oversee volunteers signing the registration sheet or I will hand out the limited amount of grabbers that people like to use for picking up trash. Before groups hit the beach, I will give them "the talk." That means it is okay to wander along nearby alleys, streets, parks and gutters looking for refuse to dispose of. Also, part of "the talk" is a reminder to first time volunteers not to pick up any dead animals, birds, fish, or organic items like seashells, rocks or seaweed. This photo was taken this past Thanksgiving weekend, where a Coastkeeper clean-up netted 173 volunteers and 105 pounds of trash removed from the Ocean Beach jetty area..

    There is such a feeling of satisfaction in being part of a unified group that works to help the environment. Most of us have heard all the scary stories: global warming, Pacific Trash gyres, extreme weather events. So being able to do something positive and affirming for Mother Earth is a very satisfying thing...all year long.

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