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Get yer butts off the beach 

ECOSLO, the Central Coast's non-profit environmental resource center, is organizing the annual San Luis Obispo County Coastal Cleanup Day. This event has run for over 20 years and will take place this Saturday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon in 23 cleanup sites from San Simeon to Point Sal.

To simplify things, there will be two main "meet-up" beaches for north and south SLO County. After meeting at one of these starting points, volunteers will be directed to those beaches where they are needed most. In the North County, volunteers should head to Cayucos and meet at the pier. The Pismo Pier will be the meeting point for the South County volunteers. If volunteers have a beach preference, just show up at the one you like.

This year the event is expected to break its own record that was set in the Guinness Book of World Records for being largest and longest- running volunteer activity ever recorded. Last year over 300,000 international volunteers lent a hand to clean up litter and marine debris from the shores, lakes, and rivers of nearly 90 nations.

In California alone, 50,000 people picked up over three quarters of a million pounds of trash. And the effort of SLO County's 1,290 volunteers collected 14,857 pounds of trash and 2,784 pounds of recyclables. All 50 states and over 90 countries around the world are expected to participate again this year.

Most of the litter collected will be cigarette butts. There will be specific litterbags for the butts, which the Tobacco Control Coalition will collect after the three-hour cleaning spree. These butts will then be presented to the Pismo Beach City Council, or the Harbor Commission as a request for a smoke free beach on one of the Central Coast's beaches.

But the Cleanup isn't just about picking up trash and debris. Cleanup volunteers also collect information about the items they find, and this data is given to The Ocean Conservancy. The Ocean Conservancy then compiles and studies the d ata in order to learn more about the global debris problem, educate the public, and find solutions. These solutions include Congressional legislation like the Marine Debris Research and Reduction Act of 2005; international agreements like the MARPOL Convention, which deals with pollution from ships in international waters; and initiatives from the private sector for waste management.

"If you see trash in the streets of SLO County, it will probably end up on the beaches and in the oceans," said Miranda Leonard, SLO County Coastal Cleanup Day Coordinator. "Animals often mistake this trash for food, and when they eat the trash their bellies feel full because it doesn't digest and then they die of starvation."

For more info, call ECOSLO at 544-1777, or visit


...If you're interested in college after high school, then being properly prepared for the SAT is paramount for college acceptance. Linda Muscarella has organized Central Coast Test Prep , which provides the service of fully credentialed teachers at the high school, community college, and university levels.

The next workshop dates are Sept. 24, 25, and Oct. 1. Each class runs from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more info call Linda Muscarella at 441-6818, or log on to

...Local jeweler Cari Streeter recently launched her fully interchangeable "En Soleil Collection." The jewelry has her signature detachable toggle clasp that allows the wearer the freedom to mix, match, layer, and stack their jewelry, so regardless of how may layers worn, using one clasp creates a clean yet versatile look. For more info, call Streeter at 234-7063.

...Free Yoga classes Saturday, Sept. 17! Central Coast Yoga Studio at 900 Grand Ave., Arroyo Grande, is celebrating its Grand Re-Opening. There will be a 10 percent discount on all merchandise and class cards. For class times or questions, call Lisa Jansen at 709-6437.

Intern Jesse Over compiled this week's Strokes &Plugs. E-mail him at

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