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Beach trash art to be featured at annual Coastal Cleanup

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Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:54 am, Tue Sep 11, 2012.

Volunteers looking for ways to help the environment while also enjoying fun activities, like making trash art sculptures and searching for the most unusual discarded treasure, will enjoy the 10th annual Coastal Cleanup this Saturday.

Every year, hundreds of people armed with gloves and trash bags gather to pick up trash from Lodi Lake, the surrounding park and the Mokelumne River.

In 2011, 350 volunteers removed 350 pounds of trash.

The event, which goes from 9 a.m. to noon, encourages people to connect with environment and prevents tons of trash from entering local waterways and eventually the Pacific Ocean, said Kathy Grant, the city's watershed education coordinator.

For the first time this year, volunteers will separate unique-looking pieces of trash. At the end of the day, they will make faces out of the garbage on Lodi Lake beach as an art project.

When volunteers arrive, they will be put on a team with 10 to 12 others and assigned a section of the park to clean. Once the volunteers gather the trash, the teams sort and record each item to pass on the information to the Ocean Conservancy's international database.

Organizers are also trying to make the event even more green for the second year in a row. Participants who ride their bike or walk to the park will receive a certificate. REI will sponsor a bike valet, but people still need to bring their own locks.

Thirty-five people rode their bike or walked to the event last year.

There will be a variety of booths from supporting sponsors, including an area where volunteers will be able to get rid of their electronic waste from 8 a.m. to noon.

The cleanup is important because studies show that 80 percent of the trash in Pacific Ocean garbage patches come from inland, Grant said.

More locally, the city of Lodi is constructing a water treatment plant that will use Mokelumne River water, so it is important to make sure it is clean, Grant said.

"That treatment plant is right by the lake, so the garbage ending up in the water is going to have to be taken out," she said.

Everyone must sign a liability waiver beforehand or at the event. Volunteers under the age of 18 also need to have their parents sign the forms.

The waivers are available on the city of Lodi's website, www.lodi.gov; at the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services office, 125 N. Stockton St.; or by contacting Kathy Grant at kgrant@lodi.gov. Forms will also be available the day of the event.

Volunteers need to wear work clothes, closed-toe shoes, gloves, sunblock and hats. Organizers encourage people to bring a reusable water bottle and their own bucket.

The city of Lodi and the San Joaquin County Public Works will provide gloves, bags, grapplers and refreshments.

Interested sponsors, large groups or anyone with questions should email Grant or call 209-327-2063.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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