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A Tale of Two Beaches - Part 1

Written by Kelsey Kuykendall


Posted on September 21 2023

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Greetings Sea Fans! Welcome to part one of our first ever two-part blog, A Tale of Two Beaches! For our first clean up this month, I visited a beautiful area called East Beach. This beach is different from my usual clean up areas in that there aren’t any amenities to attract large amounts of people. The sands of East Beach run right up to the curb of the road. Across the road are residential neighborhoods. At the far east end of the beach, you will find the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory where Chris and I met and completed our master’s degrees. There are no sidewalks to walk along or tables and benches to sit. This is not to say that East Beach doesn’t have its own attractions like a long uninterrupted stretch of peaceful uncrowded sands, a great blue crab fishing spot, and the occasional windsurfer to watch. I am also partial to this beach because this is the area that Chris and I would volunteer to clean each year during the Annual Mississippi Coastal Cleanup. Side note, that event is still going on and is happening this year on 10/21. Head over to our Facebook page where we have shared the information on how to participate! The Mississippi Coastal Cleanup program also hosts monthly clean ups at various locations. Follow them on Facebook to keep up with them!

Although the area and the surroundings are different, litter is one thing that can be found in any setting. I quickly realized as I began collecting the litter that sprinkled the grassy roadside that there would be just as much trash, but from different sources. Because most of the activity on this beach are people driving along it, there wouldn’t be remnants of picnics left behind but things that escaped trash bins or, our familiar enemy, cigarette butts tossed from windows. The grass along the side of the road does a good job of hiding small and micro-sized pieces of trash. After walking for about an hour, I had only covered about a quarter mile of the beach. Cigarette butts, food wrappers, and plastic bags were my most found items. This was not really a surprise to any of us at this point. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t find more bottles and cans. Although I only removed 2 lbs of trash and the overall volume was small, the small items removed have major impacts on the environment and stay around for a long time. Also, most of my finds today can be recycled including cigarette butts! Overall, I would say this was an evening well spent and in an area that means a lot to me.

If you are still here, thank you for reading about our first clean up this month. East Beach is a special location, and if you ever find yourself in Ocean Springs, MS, I recommend spending a sunset here. Please come back in two weeks for part two where I visit the opposite setting, a popular tourist spot along the MS Gulf Coast, Biloxi Beach.



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