New Jersey Clean Communities hosts annual Student Exchange in Ocean City

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Spring cleaning

Claire Lowe / Victoria Strekis, 14; Destiny King, 13; and Victoria Burns, 13, all of Williamstown, and Grace Manu, 14, of Old Bridge clean up the beach at Ninth Street in Ocean City Thursday, March 20. Claire Lowe / Victoria Strekis, 14; Destiny King, 13; and Victoria Burns, 13, all of Williamstown, and Grace Manu, 14, of Old Bridge clean up the beach at Ninth Street in Ocean City Thursday, March 20.

OCEAN CITY — Over 500 students from more than 15 schools across the state arrived at the Ocean City Music Pier Thursday, March 20 ready to learn about protecting New Jersey’s beaches as part of the New Jersey Clean Communities Council sixth annual Student Exchange.

“We all have litter. We all produce litter,” said Sandy Huber, director of the council.

Huber said that the idea behind the exchange is to bring students from all different locations in the state, some who have never visited Ocean City, and show them that common connection through a day of activities.

Students spent the morning collecting trash from the beach, planting dune grass, participating in a scavenger hunt and learning about the importance of beach maintenance from Ocean City Public Works. In total, they planted 5,000 dune grass stalks, according to Ocean City Environmental Commission member Ken Cooper.

Then, they headed into the Music Pier for awards and a free lunch provided by Wawa.

Some of the students stayed for a special session at the Port-O-Call, where Huber said students would break into smaller groups to discuss and explore environmental issues.

“The theme of that is the effects of the adverse weather, extreme weather, on the environment,” she said.

Huber said the students studied topics like Hurricane Sandy, the Raritan River and Puerto Rico to prepare for Thursday’s session.

This is the first year the Student Exchange has been hosted in Ocean City. The first event was held in Brigantine. It has also been held in Asbury Park, Liberty State Park, Wildwood and Palisades Interstate Park. The goal is for students to gain a holistic view of environmental issues in New Jersey with tools to solve those problems.

Huber said that the New Jersey Clean Communities Council is officially responsible for the state’s Adopt a Beach program and holds two major cleanups a year.

“We realize that the ocean pollution problem isn’t over,” she said.

This year’s event coincides with the council’s 350 Clean Water Challenge to celebrate New Jersey’s 350th birthday. Huber said the event runs from March 1 to April 30 and the council will organize 350 cleanups in that time.

Huber thanked the city of Ocean City, especially Charlotte Moyer of Ocean City Public Works, for its efforts in organizing the Student Exchange.

“It’s possibly the best event in six years,” she said. “And I give that credit to Ocean City.”

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.

Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City. Claire Lowe / Students from across the state participate in the New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s sixth annual Student Exchange Thursday, March 20 in Ocean City.


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