Talking Trash for Clean Oceans
The Salem Sound Coastwatch partnered with the NOAA Marine Debris Program to focus on urban neighborhoods in Salem, Massachusetts to raise awareness and change local trash disposal behaviors.
Project Dates: September 2014 - August 2016
What’s the project?
Talking Trash for Clean Oceans was a two-year community focused campaign created by Salem Sound Coastwatch to mitigate and prevent marine debris within Salem Sound. Focusing on urban neighborhoods, this three-pronged program aimed to raise awareness and change behaviors in trash-strewn neighborhoods throughout Salem, Massachusetts.
Teens from under-represented populations were recruited to participate in the Talking Trash for Clean Oceans Teen Leadership Project, an intensive six-month-long service-learning program. During the project, the teens learned about marine debris, and collected data in five neighborhoods to determine quantity, sources, and types of street trash. They then identified and targeted three neighborhoods for behavior changing interventions. The teens developed strategies that are neighborhood and community appropriate.
As part of Talking Trash for Clean Oceans, all of the 4th and 6th graders in Salem Public Schools participated in Talking Trash for Clean Oceans Discovery Days. The students joined in hands-on activities that taught them about marine debris and made the connection between trash on the street and the health of the oceans. Students took part in these “Discovery Days” and then saw the real-life implications of marine debris through local clean-ups at neighborhood beaches and parks.
What does it accomplish?
Talking Trash for Clean Oceans prevented marine debris by raising community awareness about the connection between trash and clean water, fostering sustainable behavior change, and creating and making available a campaign that can be replicated in other coastal and Great Lakes communities.
Who is involved?
This project was led by Salem Sound Coastwatch in partnership with the NOAA Marine Debris Program and involved teenage students.
What is something unique about the project?
A Clean Oceans Discovery Kit was given to every student on Talking Trash for Clean Oceans Discovery Days to take home to share with their families. All of the project’s unique materials, curricula, and interventions conducted are replicable, and upon the completion of the two year program, a boxed edition was housed at the New England Aquarium Teacher Resource Center.