Pledge to Support Clean Water with ASC and 1% for the Planet
The ASC Microplastics Project is featured as a “Water Activator” in a far-reaching campaign this summer run by one of our nonprofit partners. 1% for the Planet’s Blue Needs You To Make Waves campaign will involve thousands in a pledge to help keep the Earth’s waters clean.
Check out this creative piece highlighting ASC Executive Director Gregg Treinish’s contributions to water conservation:
The Pledge: Blue Needs You To Make Waves
Water—Swim, play, snorkel, fish, bathe, drink—the main component of all living things,
from tadpoles to tigers. Clean is how we like it, and how our planet needs it. Good quality
and access are basic not only to our survival but to our well-being and pleasure.
Water issues take on many forms depending on locale, but no matter where we live, water matters and we need to care of it.
Photos by Joe Klementovich | Story by Emily Stifler Wolfe
ASC volunteer Joe Klementovich woke at 4:30 a.m., and quietly snuck out of the house where his family was vacationing in Camden, Maine, pulling out of the driveway without waking anyone. He followed Route 1 along the coast, and then turned south toward Deer Isle. After an hour on winding dirt roads, he pulled into Stonington, a tiny lobstering town with a small flood of summer tourism.
In a gray, shingled building overlooking the harbor, he found the ASC Microplastics lab, where Abby Barrows and Margie Pfeffer were hard at work processing samples from the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.
“Talk about a place to really dig into ocean science,” said Klementovich, also a professional photographer. “We went out the back door of the lab, and there’s the ocean. It’s where the rubber hits the road, so to speak.”
By Emily Stifler Wolfe
When Brittany Ingalls and Caitlin Pennington first tried to set up their camera trap near the 10,767-foot Bear Lake, the trail was impassible, blocked by thick deadfall.
“We crawled through a quarter mile of blowdown, under and over [fallen trees],” Ingalls recalls of their adventure in the High Uintas Wilderness. “It was general mayhem trying to get through, and there was no way to do it quickly.” Reassessing, they decided to set up the camera in a more accessible spot.
Our 30 remote Uinta cameras have since captured hundreds of images of moose, bobcat, marten and others living in this beautiful corner of northeastern Utah. The volunteer teams have visited their research stations on three occasions, changing the batteries and bait, and retrieving SD cards.
“It’s been interesting to go back to these places multiple times... to watch as the foliage changes over and different wildflowers come in," Ingalls said. “It feels good to be contributing to a larger body of research, and I’ve learned a lot personally. It’s been an awesome experience.”
Black Bear Sow and Cubs
A black bear sow and her two cubs try to pull the bait off a tree with no luck. The bait is a beef bone covered in a delightful substance called Gusto. Its secret ingredient? Skunk anal glands.
Coyotes are opportunistic feeders, meaning they will hunt when given the opportunity—day or night. They eat small game such as rodents, rabbits and fish, larger animals like deer, and when those aren't available, insects, snakes, fruit and grass.
Adventures on the Bruce Peninsula
By Kara Steeland
ASC Microplastics Adventurer
The steel-hulled boat rocked gently as we sat on the back, readying to jump into the frigid water of the Georgian Bay.
On the way to a weekend backpacking trip, we'd detoured to explore the historic W.L. Wetmore shipwreck by snorkel. The steamship sank in November 1901, after colliding with one of the many limestone reefs and shoals that lurk below the water’s surface in northern Lake Huron.
Before taking the plunge, we collected our first water sample for the ASC Microplastics Project. I looked into the water, wondering if microplastics drifted there above the glacially scoured bedrock and century-old ship.
On that sunny summer day, the sunken remains of the old wooden steamship recalled the fury and wildness of these vast waters.
With roughly 25 shipwrecks in the Fathom Five National Marine Park, the area served as a reminder that humans have been impacting the planet since long before microplastics appeared in our soaps and other products. Unfortunately, the mistakes we make now have a resounding, ecosystem-wide impact, compared to the heap of sunken wooden planks and old boiler on the bottom of this remote bay.
ASC Executive Director Gregg Treinish recently presented to the National Geographic Explorers Symposium about the emerging environmental issue of microplastic pollution, and about the ASC Microplastics Project.
Thousands of tiny plastic particles can be released every time we wash synthetic clothing, he explained. While all clothing items including cotton and wool shed microfibers, natural fibers biodegrade, and synthetic particles do not. They attract and absorb toxins while traveling through the waterways, and when the particles are accidentally eaten by small aquatic organisms, the toxins enter the food chain.
Watch a video of Gregg at the Explorers Symposium:
In the past two and a half years, ASC sailors, surfers, divers and other adventurers have gathered hundreds of ocean water samples. We’ve found microplastic pollution in nearly every sample, and from some of the most remote ocean environments on Earth.
A Puyallup River Journey
Photos and Writing by Ken Campbell
ASC Microplastics Adventurer
I don’t know my watershed as well as I thought I did. Although I sit on a local environmental education committee and work on projects for the Puyallup Watershed Initiative, I lack a solid understanding of the route of the river and the wilderness, farms and communities that line its banks.
So I've decided to travel the length of the river, from its source on the western flanks of Mount Rainier to its confluence with Puget Sound.
This year in Washington, it’s all about the water, or more precisely, the lack thereof. Is the 5 percent snowpack level in the Cascades going to be the new normal that comes with climate change? How will it impact farmers, climbers, salmon and those others who depend on the river? This is a story of receding glaciers, lower-than-average rainfall and summer temperatures that are continually breaking records.
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