For nearly three decades, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) has been practicing the mantra “Don’t mess with Texas”, especially along Texas beaches. This year will be no different, as the GLO will continue its Texas Adopt-A-Beach program, with the first cleanup event of 2016 scheduled for February 12 and 13.
According to the GLO, since the program began in 1986, nearly a half million volunteers have cleaned up more than 9,200 tons of trash littering Texas’ Gulf Coast. Due to the tide patterns in the Gulf of Mexico, trash that is dumped anywhere in the gulf is likely to end up on a Texas beach. Cleanup volunteers that collect data on the source and type of debris have found some of the trash can come from as far away as South America.
Besides the environmental impact, the cleanup effort through the Adopt-A-Beach program greatly contributes to the maintenance and growth of the Gulf Coast economy. Coastal tourism is a $7 billion industry and commercial fishing is a $1.9 billion industry, and both rely on healthy beaches to prosper.
In addition to gathering volunteers to join, the GLO is encouraging young Texans to get involved by submitting artwork to the Adopt-A-Beach “Treasures of the Texas Coast” Children’s Art Contest.
“Many young students across Texas have not yet had the opportunity to visit our beautiful coast,” said Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. “This competition encourages kids to learn about the Texas coast and then be creative in demonstrating what impacts them through their art. The coast is an important part of our shared heritage as Texans and this competition promotes a deeper appreciation for this vital resource.”
Ten winners from several different grade levels will be chosen, and have their artwork featured in a 2017 calendar that will be distributed across the state. One grand prizewinner will receive roundtrip airfare and a seven-night cruise.
The Feb. 12 cleanup will be held at Edwin Atwood Park, Access 5 on South Padre Island on February 12th and 7 different locations in the coastal bend on Feb. 13.
For more information on the Adopt-A-Beach program, to sign up as a volunteer, or to learn more about the art contest, visit http://www.glo.texas.gov/adopt-a-beach/index.html. You may also follow @TXAdoptABeach on Twitter for the latest news.