Community Coastal Column


Hello! My name is Ivy Munnerlyn and I’m excited to introduce myself as the new Coastal Programs Coordinator for the NEC. I’ve been with the NEC since 2019 in the role of Coastal Programs Intern, and have enjoyed assisting former Coordinator, Casey Cruikshank, in the management of our incredible suite of programs. Casey will be sorely missed by the NEC community and it will be a steep task filling her shoes (or, more accurately, rainboots). But I welcome the challenge!

Ivy in her preferred habitat.

My love of the natural world, and in particular the seashore, came late in the game. In 2016, I was a dissatisfied college freshman looking for a new passion. Daily hikes and moments spent outdoors sparked a curiosity about the natural world that hasn’t yet abated. My instinct told me that I needed to explore this direction, so I enrolled as a Biology student at Cabrillo College in my hometown of Santa Cruz, CA. I am now a Wildlife Biology student at HSU, and I continue to find joy in the mysteries and complexities of the natural world. In particular, I am interested in the connection between humans and nature, and how we can rekindle ties with our non-human neighbors. I look forward to exploring these topics and much more as the new voice of the Community Coastal Column!


Butt In: Cigarette Litter Prevention Program 

The Problem

Did you know that cigarette butts are the most littered item in Humboldt County and the world? That’s right: 4.5 trillion butts are littered every year. 34% of all litter in California is from cigarette butts.

Nearly all cigarette filters are composed of 12,000 strands of cellulose acetate (aka plastic) and break down into microplastics that do not biodegrade. They also include toxic chemicals and heavy metals such as arsenic, ammonia, formaldehyde, butane, nicotine, cadmium, lead, and mercury. These toxins leach into the water and soil when littered, which is deadly to wildlife


The Solution

The NEC “Butt In: Cigarette Litter Prevention Program” is working to fight this problem by partnering with local businesses to increase access to cigarette receptacles. These receptacles have been proven to promote responsible waste disposal by providing smokers with a convenient place to dispose of their cigarettes, which prevents litter. A single cigarette receptacle has been shown to reduce cigarette litter by 9%. Cities that have installed ashcans on a widespread basis have seen overall reductions of 65% or more.


How to Get Involved

Are you a local restaurant or bar who has noticed cigarette litter by your business?

Apply for a FREE cigarette receptacle through the NEC at


Trash-a-thon 2021 | April 19-25 

Celebrate Earth Week With Us!

What is Trash-A-Thon?

Similar to a walk-a-thon, where you raise money from sponsors for each mile walked, Trash-a-thon is a way of raising donations for the number of pieces of trash that are picked up within a 24-hour timeframe. 

Anyone can volunteer to pick up trash, either as an individual or in teams of 2-5 people. Leading up to the day of the cleanup, volunteers are encouraged to collect pledges (donations) from their network. A suggested pledge could range anywhere from $0.05  – $5 per piece of trash. 

Why Trash-A-Thon?

Citizen science is a very important part of Coastal Programs at the NEC. Our Coastal Program’s staff and volunteers track marine and neighborhood debris to find local waste patterns (what kind of trash is being found and where) so we can advocate for waste reduction solutions in our community.

Additionally, all funds raised from Trash-a-thon support the NEC’s Coastal Programs (Adopt-A-Block, Adopt-A-Beach, Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day, Trash Trackers, Reduce Single-Use Pledge, and Butt In: Cigarette Litter Prevention Program). The NEC works on a shoestring budget and succeeds only with determination, devotion and aid from great volunteers. For 50 years, the NEC has served as a vital hub for information and programs that involve, inform and inspire residents with regard to environmental issues that matter most on California’s North Coast. From watershed awareness and climate action to beach cleanups and celebratory all-species parades, the NEC has been at the forefront for all of us.

How To Sign Up

Visit to register your cleanup team. Deadline to sign up is Friday, April 16, 2021.

Once you have registered, it’s time to get pledges! Contact your family, friends, co-workers, community, etc. and ask if they’d like to make a donation. We highly encourage that all pledgers donate through (Rallyup accepts check, card, or paypal).

If you are not comfortable using the Rallyup website, email and we will gladly help you register or make a donation online.