We’ve all heard the phrase, “take only pictures, leave only footprints”. And with National Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17th this year, it got me thinking… There are so many ways to be kind to one another, but how can we be kind to the beautiful beach that brings us so much joy?
Here are 7 ways you can be kind to the beach in Port Aransas.
Use less plastic
We’ve all heard about the massive amounts of plastic that end up in our oceans and the devastating effects this can have on marine life. So ditch the single-use plastic cups and bottles, say ‘no thanks’ to plastic straws and utensils, and bring your own reusable water bottle or coffee mug. Less plastic packaging equals less plastic on beaches and in our oceans.
Take it a step further: Start using a reusable water bottle like this one, a reusable travel coffee mug like this one, or invest in a stainless steel bottle like this one to keep your drink cold on hot days at the beach.
Leave it cleaner than you found it
When visiting the beach in Port Aransas, it’s natural to bring along food and drinks but please remember to take it all with you when you leave. Bring an extra trash bag with you and fill it with not only your own trash, but also any items you find as you walk the beach. From picnic packaging to drinks cans, everything must go. Plastic items can be especially harmful to marine life, so it’s extremely important to leave nothing behind.
Take it one step further: Participate in one of the seasonal beach cleanups of the Texas coastline and join thousands of other volunteers in keeping Texas beaches clean. Beach cleanups are a great way to engage in a team-building exercise while doing something great for the environment. Find details about scheduled cleanups at Texas Adopt A Beach.
Respect the local wildlife
Nature’s inhabitants of the beach and ocean are often in search of food, so please give them space and observe them from afar. Do your best to ensure that no harm is done to them, including avoiding driving through gatherings of birds or feeding the seagulls. It is also illegal to pet dolphins in the wild, so please don’t attempt to lure or approach them from your boat.
If you see a jellyfish or starfish on the beach, take only photos with you. If you see a sea turtle in distress, call the Turtle Hotline at 1-866-TURTLE5. If you find an injured shore bird, contact the ARK (Animal Rehabilitation Keep in Port Aransas) for assistance at 361-749-6793. The ARK is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Take it one step further: Support an organization that saves marine life by making a donation to the Friends of the ARK (Animal Rehabilitation Keep in Port Aransas) to help continue the rescue of injured, sick and abused wildlife that will be rehabilitated.
Be a responsible pet owner
Port Aransas city ordinances state that all pets must be leashed on the beach. If you bring your dog to play in the sand and enjoy the ocean, always have them on a leash and be sure to clean up after them. If you find a dog or cat that is lost or unattended, call Port Aransas Animal Control for assistance at 361-446-2203.
Take it one step further: Make a donation to the Animal Friends of Port Aransas, a local organization that works with the Port Aransas Animal Shelter to get local animals healthy and adopted into forever homes.
Fill the holes
Many beachgoers that linger ’til sunset will enjoy building a beach bonfire. Port Aransas city ordinances allow beach fires no larger than 3 feet x 3 feet, using regular firewood (not pallets). After the fun is done, any hole dug on the beach for the fire should be completely filled in and any ashes fully covered. It’s important to fill these holes, because nesting sea turtles can easily get stuck in them.
Watch for jellyfish
While amazing to see up close, many jellyfish and Portuguese man o’ wars are still able to sting you if touched. Record sightings of beached jellyfish and other marine organisms at Jelly Watch to help marine biologists develop a better understanding of ocean life.
Take it a step further: Learn more about how to identify different types of jellyfish in the ocean with these educational jellyfish books.
Notice the nurdles
Watch for nurdles that may wash up on the beach from ocean currents. A nurdle is a plastic pellet which serves as raw material in the manufacturing of plastic products. Help find and map the source of these nurdles at Nurdle Patrol.
There’s no shortage of small, kind acts that can be done each and every day at the beach. Each one of these random acts of kindness can easily add up to big changes when it comes to maintaining the beauty of the beaches of Port Aransas.
And the thanks goes to you!