‘Adopt-a-Coast’ is a practical project aimed primarily at schools, community groups, and families. Adopt-a-Coast lets you ‘adopt’ a part of your favourite beach so that you become responsible for keeping it clean and monitoring the seashore life on a regular basis.
What is involved in Adopt-a-Coast?
By adopting a coast, your group takes the responsibility of visiting your chosen beach regularly throughout the year. During your visit, a small scale clean-up takes place where you collect trash along the coast, followed by monitoring of the seashore to find out what plants and animals are living in the intertidal zone of the beach. The monitoring part of ‘Adopt-a-Coast’ is done using the University of Otago’s ‘Marine Metre Squared’ citizen science initiative, making it easy for everyone to monitor seashore life, and to upload your collected information to a national database. See below for more information on ‘Marine Metre Squared’.
‘Adopt-a-Coast’ can be done as a group field trip or a family weekend trip and will take up 1 to 2 hours of your time. ‘Adopt-a-Coast is a fun and interactive way to learn more about pollution, conservation, and seashore life.
Pollution in our Oceans
One of the biggest issues facing our oceans and coasts is pollution. An estimated 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic entered the ocean in 2010 from people living within 50 kilometres of the coast in 192 countries. Plastic pollution has a direct effect on coastal and marine wildlife. Thousands of marine animals are killed each year as they mistake floating plastics for food or they become entangled in it.
A majority of the plastic in our oceans is so small that we can’t see it. Big pieces of plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces until they become just the right size for things like plankton and other filter feeders to consume. Filter feeders include animals like cockles, pipi, and barnacles that are commonly found on our coast. Once plastic enters the food chain through the filter feeders, it works its way up the chain as larger animals eat the smaller ones.
We can all make a difference by reducing the amount of waste we produce each day, by recycling and reusing where possible, and by cleaning up our environment.
Marine Metre Squared
Marine Metre Squared is an easy way for anyone to survey the plants and animals living on their local seashore using a simple quadrat sampling method and visual identification guides.
Visit the Marine Metre Squared website and register your group for Marine Metre Squared, and access the free resources for monitoring your adopted coast.
Do you want to Adopt-a-Coast?
There are plenty of coastal areas around the country waiting to be adopted by your school or community group. It can be rocky shore beaches or sandy and muddy shore beaches, so if you are interested in joining the Adopt-a-Coast project and helping to keep our coasts clean and monitored, get in touch with our team to get started.