Boy Scouts pitched in with the cleanup efforts by raking up seaweed. (Garrick Hoffman photo)

SCARBOROUGH – At least 100 people showed up to the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center on Sunday to help clean the marsh for Earth Week, making it the “best turnout in years,” Audubon Director Linda Woodard said.
Companies, groups, high school clubs and individuals comprised the 100-person effort to lend a helping hand on the biggest salt marsh in Maine, Woodard said.
In addition, Maine Audubon coordinated with the Friends of Scarborough Marsh, Eastern Trail Alliance and the town of Scarborough for the job, as well as local nonprofit Project G.R.A.C.E. to collect food for residents in need.
Volunteers were encouraged to bring nonperishable food or a store gift card to the event.
“We are picking up a lot of trash; it’s been really bad out there this year,” Woodard said.

The cleanup of the 3,100-acre marsh – a natural feature owned and managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife –- is an annual event and includes not just the marsh, but surrounding areas, such as the beaches, roadways, Route 1, side roads and more, Woodard said.
However, Woodard said in recent years the turnout hasn’t been as great, but she said she believes the nice, sunny weather with welcoming temperatures helped this year, as well as planning the effort the weekend after Easter rather than the weekend of Easter.
According to its website, the marsh is owned and managed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and is “particularly important for wildlife as a resting, breeding and feeding ground.”
In addition to cleaning the marsh, Woodard said Audubon was also preparing its Nature Center for the season, where visitors can purchase nature-themed goods.
James Joyce of Saco and his daughter Sarah Joyce of Standish were two volunteers present to help with the cleanup, with the former picking up trash and the later documenting it.
“Sarah has a capstone project for her high school,” James Joyce said. “She’s a junior at Bonny Eagle.”
Sarah Joyce’s capstone is environmentally-themed so, equipped with a camera, she accompanied her father to take photos during the event to be used for her capstone, her father said.
Woodard encouraged people to volunteer in future events for the Audubon Center. She said there are many opportunities through the year.
“Volunteering is a big need we have,” Woodard said. “We’ll need people all summer.”

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