Casey’s Coastal Column: Earth Day Every Day Get Involved in NEC Coastal Programs!

 Avid local beach cleaner Aly Krystkowaik. Photo: Casey Cruikshank.
Avid local beach cleaner Aly Krystkowaik. Photo: Casey Cruikshank.

An Overview of the NEC’s Coastal Programs

In 1979, Joe Abbott and his wife Ann Morrissey wrote a grant for what was called the “Beach Beautification Project.” It was a two-year project targeting Humboldt County’s coastline to clean debris from the beaches. They approached Tim McKay and Sid Dominitz at the Northcoast Environmental Center to help coordinate and sponsor the program. When grant funds ran out, the NEC began to work with other local businesses to allow community members to “adopt” a beach area and continue the cleanup efforts.


These cleanups eventually became the Adopt-A-Beach program we know and love today. We offer guidance, cleanup supplies and an Adopt-A-Beach sticker to those who sign up and participate. It’s easy! Sign up on our website or swing by the NEC office to chat with Casey, the NEC’s Coastal Programs Coordinator, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Then, just check in once a month to log your volunteer cleanup hours and pounds of trash collected. Please tag us (@your_nec on Instagram or Northcoast Environmental Center on Facebook) in your beach clean photos on social media, or if you are not on social media send us your photos via email to

Coastal Cleanup Day

After the California Coastal Commission learned of the beach cleanup successes in Humboldt County, they organized the first ever state-wide Coastal Cleanup Day in 1985. One year later, the Ocean Conservancy caught wind of it and jumped on board and the event quickly became an international sensation! The NEC is proud to have nurtured its humble beginnings right here in Humboldt County, and continue to coordinate local Coastal Cleanup Day efforts every year.

Coastal Cleanup Day 2019 will take place on Saturday, September 21. This year marks the NEC’s 40th beach cleanup anniversary! Mark your calendars for this important occasion and come on out to join in on the fun. Keep your eyes peeled for more information and new Coastal Commission poster and shirt designs for this year’s cleanup, to be announced later this summer. Updates will be posted on our website.


Adopt-A-Block was inspired by the Adopt-A-Beach program and also works to remove waste from our watershed. Much of the trash that we see on our local streets ends up in our waterways sooner or later. Our team of trusty volunteers works hard to keep the streets of Arcata and Eureka clean. Last year alone Adopt-a-Block volunteers removed over 2,500 pounds of trash and 21,000 cigarette butts.

The program has a heavy focus on cigarette butts because they are environmentally toxic and an important local issue. The NEC participates in a cigarette butt recycle program through TerraCycle. Participants pack up collected cigarette butts and bring them to the office where they are counted and shipped off to TerraCycle to be turned into park benches. Participants in this program report their hours, weight of debris collected, and cigarette butt finds to us once a month.

Earth Day

On Saturday, April 20, the NEC will be hosting an Earth Day cleanup event. Details will be announced on our website and our social media pages. Check for more information soon!
If you have any questions about our Coastal Programs just give us a call at the NEC office at 707- 822-6918, or email Casey at