NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- A band of about 20 Albert Leonard Middle School students swept through Five Islands Park on Echo Bay for International Coastal Cleanup Day, picking the beaches and rocky crags clean of bottles, countless cigarette butts, fishing line, and even the rusted base of a blender. Not to mention discarded clothes.
"We can make an outfit out of the clothes we found," seventh-grader Zoe Todd said when it was over.
After a couple of hours of work last Saturday, the students from the school's Pay it Forward Club had amassed a mound of clear 30-gallon bags, about 20 of them, with the trash and debris they had carefully collected. They used thick gloves for safety, working in pairs when on rocks that could be slippery.
Teacher Sara Yeterian, who runs the club, said she enjoyed showing the students that even a modest effort can make a difference.
"It's our community, it's our beach, it's our town," she said. "I like having the kids come out and make a difference. And I also like the camaraderie."
"Protecting the environment is one of the most important causes," said Zane Snyder Cox, a New Rochelle High School freshman who took part in cleanups while at Albert Leonard and who joined Saturday's outing. "It's nice to know that we contributed to that."