The environment is one of the few things on the planet that every human being has in common. Its care will ultimately be critical to our survival.

“The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship,” reflected Pope John Paul II more than 30 years ago. “We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for future generations.”

This summer, staff and volunteers from Midway once again joined together with dozens of other members of the San Diego Port Tenants Association for the 31st annual Operation Clean Sweep that tackled clearing trash and debris from the San Diego Bay tidelands.

“We were a small, but mighty group,” said Laurie Switzer, Midway’s director of volunteer programs. “Inspired to preserve a space in its natural state, we cleared much of a quarter mile stretch of shoreline that was littered with trash.”

The Midway-sponsored team targeted a California least tern nesting habitat adjacent to the marina in National City near the mouth of the Sweetwater River. The least tern is an endangered bird species whose existence is threatened by habitat loss, pollution, nesting disturbance, and predation by domestic and wild animals. 

“We picked up hats, toys, flip-flops, straws, bags, cups, fishing lures, shoes and bottles,” said Laurie, who coordinated Midway’s effort. “We also cleaned up eroded Styrofoam that was sprinkled and permeated throughout the seagrass.”

In all, the group collected more than 1.5 cubic yards of trash that filled up the beds of two pickup trucks.

Volunteers from Midway cleared more than 1.5 cubic yards of trash.

“It was an awesome opportunity for me and my son to give back,” said Bill Coleman, a member of Midway’s exhibit’s team. “It’s important to take care of the bay that takes care of the Midway.”

“I greatly appreciate the USS Midway Museum volunteers for going above and beyond to clean up the shoreline,” said Heather Kramp, a senior environmental specialist with the Port of San Diego. “It’s so rewarding to connect volunteers like those at the Midway Museum with San Diego Bay’s special habitat areas. This cleanup effort not only beautified the shoreline but helped maintain an important wetland area and nesting site for endangered California least terns.”

This important community endeavor has been and will continue to be a key annual project for the both the Port of San Diego and the San Diego Port Tenants Association. 

“Operation Clean Sweep has always been the signature clean-up event for San Diego Bay and its shorelines,” said Ann Moore, one of the commissioners for the Port of San Diego. “Because of the hard work of our dedicated tenants and community volunteers who participate, San Diego Bay’s environment has improved immensely over the years.”

Midway’s volunteers generously gave of their free time to help restore the health of the bay.

“It was fun to connect with others on the sunny San Diego morning with fresh air and a shared sense of accomplishment,” said Laurie.

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