The sound of chatter filled the air on a quiet spring morning in Provincetown, Massachusetts, as people greeted one another, donned rubber boots and distributed gloves, buckets and knives among the crowd.
Gathered at the rotary on the outskirts of town on the morning of April 22, volunteers stuffed pockets with garbage bags in preparation for the 2022 Earth Day Beach Clean. Laura Ludwig from the Center for Coastal Studies organized the event and gave a quick safety briefing before the cleanup crew dispersed over the rocks, eager to get started.
Image Description: A group of 10 people, dressed in hats and winter jackets, gather around a silver pick-up truck. On the bed of the truck a lady, wearing maroon pants and a gray sweater, hands out black garbage bags to people.
Image Description: Eleven plastic buckets sit empty on the ground. Most are white with black and red lettering; one is black, and another is blue. Some have chipped blue paint around the rim.
Image Description: A group of five people walk across a rock causeway heading away from shore. Ahead of the group, another group of five people can be seen further along the wall. People are dressed in bright-colored jackets with winter hats on. Each person is carrying a plastic bucket. The rocks are pale brown on top of the wall and dark brown with seaweed on the side – the high-tide line. On both sides of the wall there is water, and in the distance there is a yellow sand beach and a small white lighthouse with a black roof.
Image Description: A man wearing blue jeans, a yellow rain jacket, gray gardening gloves and a light gray wide-brimmed hat reaches into a thicket of green and brown twigs. In his left hand he holds a white plastic bucket. Behind him a lady wearing a pink jacket and black baseball cap is standing and looking into the bushes on the ground.
Image Description: A group of six people stand talking on straw-filled ground, while a lady with curly brown hair dressed in black overalls, a pink long-sleeved shirt and brown rubber boots uses a white plastic bucket to squash down the contents of a red plastic barrel. Behind them, a man in blue jeans and a red shirt walks through green and gray bushes while clutching a white plastic bucket.
Image Description: A pile of trash sits on the beach. There is a gray plastic bucket with a clear plastic water bottle, a red plastic tub and white plastic bags inside. Next to the gray bucket sits a white plastic bucket with blue and beige pieces of fishing rope inside. Behind the buckets is a full black garbage bag with a small hole on the side, and behind the bag is a plank of wood and some yellow spongy material.
Image Description: A teenage boy wearing a backward beige baseball cap, light gray sweater, beige trousers and blue gloves walks through bushes. On his sweater are the words “walls are meant for climbing.” In his left hand, held above his shoulder, he carries a black wetsuit. Behind him are piles of trash, and on the floor beside him is a white plastic bucket.
Image Description: A white plastic bucket with chipped blue paint on the rim sits on straw-like ground. Sticking out from the top of the bucket is a piece of thin yellow cable and a blue mesh bag. Behind the bucket a person standing and carrying a large white garbage bag looks at the ground.
Fiona Skeggs is a science and environmental journalism graduate student at Medill. You can follow her on Twitter at @fiona_skeggs.