Each year, as I Love A Clean San Diego ramps up for the largest cleanup of the year, Coastal Cleanup Day, we like to highlight site captains who go above and beyond. We recently sat down with one of our newest site captains, Stew Aadnes from Encinitas, to learn about why he loves a clean San Diego! Read on to learn more about how Stew got involved and how you can sign up to clean up either at his site or one of our 100+ sites near you. During the week, you’ll find Stew out in the field as a Site Manager with Geosyntec, one of ILACSD’s 2015 Coastal Cleanup Day sponsors, surveying storm drains and other infrastructure to minimize its impact on the local environment. On the weekends, like many San Diegans, you can find him catching some waves at Grandview or Beacon’s, two of his favorite breaks. Whether he is out preventing storm water pollution or enjoying the fruits of his labor surfing, the one thing he often finds is trash and lots of it.
Stew first got involved with ILACSD at a beach cleanup with his company. He soon realized that he wanted to do more. So he signed up to lead his very first cleanup at Encinas Creek in Carlsbad as a Creek to Bay site captain. If you’ve ever been to one of our beach cleanups you know that we find a lot of small pieces of plastic like straws, bottle caps, and abandoned beach toys. These items cause a lot of harm to wildlife, beach-goers, and surfers, like Stew. However, our inland cleanups are a different story with lots of big, heavy, toxic trash, that thankfully we’re take care of before making its way downstream. Just last spring at Creek to Bay, Stew reported pulling out whole couches, mattresses, shopping carts, and you name it, out of Encinas Creek. He even used rope to create a pulley system to get the heaviest stuff out of the creek bed. Three hours later, he had two dumpsters full of trash.
But that’s not all you’ll find at Stew’s site. When speaking with him I asked, “What is unique about your site?” and he shared that there is something for everyone; if you want to get your hands dirty and pull out tons of trash, there’s that, but there is still plenty to cleanup, even for the youngest volunteers. You may be thinking, “Well, what motivates someone to do volunteer to run a cleanup site?” Stew hopes that he can look back in 6 months and see that he helped preserve a piece of nature that was once hidden by trash. Are you looking for some motivation? Stew says, “Come out and get your hands dirty. Put on your worst pair of jeans and get after it.” If nothing else, there’s always Pizza Port to look forward to afterwards 🙂
Whether you live in Carlsbad or another part of the county, we know you love your community. Save the date for Saturday, September 19th and register at www.CleanupDay.org for a site that is meaningful to you. Whether it’s your favorite beach where you take the family or perhaps a piece of nature that otherwise would be overlooked, we hope you’ll join us. Connect and protect. Keeping San Diego clean, together. A special thank you goes out to Geosyntec for supporting San Diego’s largest cleanup of the year as a sponsor and encouraging their employees to get involved in their community. Thank you for investing in a clean San Diego!