Have you ever gone to the beach and been appalled by what you saw? Maybe it’s someone mindlessly littering, or the careless way someone picks up a crab and throws it back on the ground. It’s easy to forget that hundreds of species rely on beaches and intertidal zones, but we must remember that this is their home. Here are some tips to follow as you share in enjoying these incredible living systems.
- Be mindful when you turn over rocks! Try not to turn over rocks larger than your head as they are specialized habitats for many marine organisms. If you do turn over small rocks to get a better look at what lives underneath, always make sure to put the rock back exactly where you found it! Organisms live under rocks for a reason: they provide shelter and shade from the sweltering sun that can quickly desiccate (dry out) marine organisms.
- Take care when you walk on the beach! Many rocks are covered with ulva, a green seaweed that can be quite slippery when walking on. Make sure you have sure footing so you don’t slip and fall. You also want to make sure that you aren’t trampling any critters beneath your feet!
- Take photos and leave only footprints! This might seem obvious, but it’s not ok to take any marine critters or organisms out of their natural habitat.
- Pack it in and pack it out: Picnics on the beach are fun, but garbage isn’t! Make sure to pack everything out that you brought in. In doing so, you’ll be preventing more pollution in the aquatic environment. re-sources.org/events
- Carefully touch marine organisms! It is ok to carefully and gently touch marine organisms, although make sure you wet your hands before doing so. Make sure you don’t move the organism from its original spot!
Remember that when you visit the beach, you’re also visiting the home of thousands of marine organisms. Following these beach etiquette tips will make you great beach visitor; the critters will appreciate it too!
By Lilya Jaeren, Americorps Aquatic Reserves Monitoring and Stewardship Coordinator