This is the twelfth and final in a series of posts about this year’s Ocean Hero finalists.
We’re rounding out our series on the Ocean Hero finalists today with Andrew Hayford, a high school junior who has been an ocean conservation stand-out in his hometown of York, Maine.
Andrew first got involved when he was learning to surf at age 12 and noticed trash in the water and on the beaches. He’s been working to clean up the coast of southern Maine ever since. Since 2006, he has been involved in almost 30 beach cleanups and has hosted more than 10 of his own.
In 2010, Andrew won a Planet Connect grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation to educate 150 kindergarten and second grade students about ocean pollution and how they could help. He conducted an art contest with these students, which became the centerpiece of his “Keep Our Beaches Clean” campaign.
Andrew made decals with the children’s artwork and convinced local businesses to choose a decal and place it in a prominent place to remind visitors to keep the beaches clean. He also asked businesses to do five things on an ocean friendly checklist, such as providing biodegradable takeout containers.
After conducting regular beach cleanups in the summer of 2010, Andrew reports that the amount of garbage tracked decreased by 50% compared to the prior year. Way to go, Andrew!
Voting ends on May 31st, so check out the other finalists, cast your vote and spread the word!