People dream of living on Cape Ann for a lot of reasons; The excellent food, the sense of community that comes along with living in coastal New England, spotting famous tuna boat captains in Dunkin’ Donuts, but one of the biggest reasons of all may be the astounding beauty of the area. 

Our beaches are some of the finest in the nation, and people flock to them by the thousands every year to splash in the waves. Tourists and locals alike spend countless hours basking in the sun with friends and family. The picturesque towns dotting Cape Ann offer streets perfect for strolling, shopping, and eating as well. We have amazing real estate and so much natural beauty on our island.

So just how do our beaches, streets, and parks stay clean for all to enjoy? Spend any time on Cape Ann on a weekend morning and you might see crews of people armed with yellow bags, grabbers, and determination making their way across Gloucester's beaches and parks, stopping along the way to pick up stray bits of paper, cigarette butts, Dunkin’ cups, and so much more. Who are these folks? They’re CLEAN GLOUCESTER. 

Clean Gloucester is a group of local volunteers who take the time to organize with like minded people and meet up on a regular basis to keep our little slice of Cape Ann clean. Acting as a community hub, Clean Gloucester’s Facebook page brings together the citizens of Gloucester and greater Cape Ann to take part in keeping the area clean through education and collaboration with other local volunteer groups such as The One Hour At A Time Gang and other official groups such as the Gloucester Clean City Commission, and the Clean City Initiative. Clean Gloucester and its volunteers have also been instrumental in bringing programs like Carry-In Carry-Out to the forefront of discussion for local city officials and citizens.

On a recent Saturday, Clean Gloucester were joined by the girls of Daisy Girl Scout Troop 89114 for a Saturday morning beach clean up. The girls had a great time, and the beach was left in much better shape by their efforts. Programs such as Clean Gloucester work hard to teach younger generations about the importance of caring for the local and global environment. Hands on education is vital to drive home just how much difference a person can make in a local clean up effort.


(photo courtesy of Clean Gloucester's Facebook Page)

The folks at the Beauport Hotel on Pavilion Beach also recently teamed up with Clean Gloucester and Cape Ann SUP to beautify the beach in front of their great new hotel, getting the area ready to greet guests when the hotel opens later this year. No doubt they’ll be routinely doing all they can to make sure Pavilion Beach and The Fort neighborhood, along with the harbor itself, stay clean for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. 

Additionally, the Clean Gloucester folks and their associated groups lead efforts to raise awareness about the impact which “everyday” litter, such as cigarette butts, has on the environment. A recent cleaning excursion yielded nearly 450 butts, and that was just in downtown Gloucester alone, along with styrofoam cups, trash, and nip bottles!

Every week, volunteers from across Cape Ann scour the streets, beaches, and open spaces of Gloucester, Magnolia, and everywhere in between in order to keep our Cape Ann beautiful for everyone to enjoy. 

If you want to get involved and donate your time, check out Clean Gloucester’s Facebook page to find out where they’re meeting next! 

In the meantime, here are some great reasons from theinertia.com to help Clean Gloucester clean up our beaches, and help you make sure our Cape Ann stays as beautiful as it can.

1. You’ll become more aware of your own lifestyle. 

“People should join beach cleanups because they provide a fun environment that fuels an awakening towards the need to examine our consumer lifestyles. After picking up all the plastics and specifically single use plastics off the beach, it’s hard to ever go back to using them or not speak up against them.” – Kahi Pacarro – Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii

You see, the cleanup never really ends that day at the beach. All it takes is two hours of picking up trash off the beach and for most people the mindset is completely transformed. No matter how hard they try; grocery stores, gas stations, parks, trails, harbors, beaches, & anywhere else they might travel, the pollution around sticks out like a sore thumb. Simply walking past trash or stepping over it after working your butt off at a cleanup becomes extremely difficult. There is also a really good chance you will consider a more eco-friendly option/company when making common purchases. These two things alone make beach cleanups worth their weight in gold.

2. You’ll get to know the people in your community better. 

“Beach Cleanups are a really fun way to volunteer. What’s better than spending a couple hours with family, friends, and neighbors making your home a better place? Our volunteers are uniting through community service, responsibility, and sharing of the natural environment to help drastically improve the quality of their communities.” – Julia Williams – Orange County Coastkeeper

Residents are just attending beach cleanups and becoming more aware of the issues we face. They are also providing a service that saves their city thousands of dollars in labor expenses . Of all the ways to volunteer beach cleanups have to be one of the best for serving your community directly. Enjoying the beautiful scenery with friends and keeping up on the resources for the next generation is what being part of a community is all about.

3. You’re saving marine animals. 

“Marine debris has become a pervasive pollution problem affecting all of the world’s oceans. Countless marine animals and sea birds become entangled in marine debris or ingest it. This can cause them serious harm and often results in their death.” – 

Patti & Lorenzo Diaz – H20 Trash Patrol

Marine animals will often mistake small pieces of plastic for food, and over time consuming it becomes too much for their bodies. Many of them will eventually succumb to the plastic waste. Study after study has shown that a large number of marine animal deaths are now a direct result of marine debris. All it takes is one tiny bottle cap, cigarette butt, or something as simple as a straw and animals can suffer an unimaginable fate.

You’ve all seen the video of people pulling that straw out of the sea turtles noes haven’t you? Can you even imagine how something like that would feel? Not cool. So you see, spending some time helping out at a cleanup is crucial and can seriously reduce the risk marine life faces.

Now, if you ever have someone asking why beach cleanups are important, or why they should attend, you will have a few pointers to bring to the conversation about the issues we all face. It’s even a little motivation to get down to the beach and lend a hand.