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Mississippi Coastal Cleanup Celebrates 25 Years of Volunteerism

BILOXI, Miss. – What do an unopened safe, a chandelier and a tiki hut all have in common? They are among the unusual items found by volunteers cleaning up the beaches and coastal waterways during the 2012 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup, which is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, the world's largest volunteer effort to clean up the marine environment. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup and its organizers—the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) and the Mississippi Marine Debris Task Force—recently formed a 25th anniversary committee to kick off a yearlong coastwide celebration of the event.

The Cleanup offers a unique hands-on learning opportunity for Mississippi residents and visitors to become aware of the problem of marine debris.

"We see great value in the marine debris awareness and engagement created through the International Coastal Cleanup," said Lauren Thompson, state coordinator for the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup and MDMR public relations manager. "Our annual participation has created significant interest from community groups and educators asking what actions they can take outside the one-day event."

The 25th anniversary committee held its first meeting Feb. 5 and elected officers. Lauren Thompson was named chair, Ed Cake will serve as vice chair and Cyndi Moncreiff was elected secretary.

"This year's cleanup will be a special event with several volunteer recognition gatherings and celebrations taking place during the months leading up to the Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, Mississippi Coastal Cleanup," said Cyndi Moncreiff, Ocean Springs coordinator for the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup. "We will be making a special effort to recognize the 25th year of this event in coastal Mississippi, focusing on appreciation of the long-time volunteers who help out every year, and also the longevity of this event along our coast."

To learn more about the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup or view results of past cleanups, visit www.mscoastalcleanup.org and like us on Facebook!

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources is dedicated to enhancing, protecting and conserving marine interests of the state by managing all marine life, public trust wetlands, adjacent uplands and waterfront areas to provide for the optimal commercial, recreational, educational and economic uses of these resources consistent with environmental concerns and social changes. Visit the DMR online at www.dmr.ms.gov.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
PHOTO CAPTION: The Mississippi Coastal Cleanup 25th anniversary committee held its first meeting Feb. 5 in Biloxi. Pictured from left: Ellis Cuevas, Tommy Kidd, Lauren Thompson, Irene McIntosh, Cyndi Moncreiff, Syneathia Lett and Ed Cake. Not pictured: F.J. Eicke, Marie Mullen, Joyce Nelson and Joyce Shaw.

Contact: Lauren Thompson
Phone: 228-523-4053

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