LONG BRANCH: On Saturday, March 25, 90 community-minded volunteers planted 10,000 beach sand plants near the boardwalk of the city beach from Brighton Avenue to Pavilion.
Volunteers from age 7 or 8, to scout groups, to students, and to families, the "farmers" for the planting carefully drilled in the sand with poles and other tools where they then implanted palm-like stems a foot or so apart and about 8 inches into the sand. Each planter was smoothed the area to seals the spots where the palms will bloom and provide a natural defense against sand washing away into the ocean.
Sand replacement cost millions of dollars. The plantings do not solve the problem completely but does reduce the beach efforts.
The project was sponsored with partnership of the Surfers Environmental Alliance and the City's Environmental Commission. The project followed a similar project a year ago. Another is in the planning stage for this coming fall season. The project wrapped up by 2 p.m. after the 11 a.m. start.
Volunteers included students from the Long Branch High School and Middle School, the LBHS Air Force Jr. ROTC, Cub Scout Pack 160 from Freehold, Long Branch Boy Scouts, Monmouth University Surf Club (Seniors who live in the dorm next to the boardwalk), and the LB Environmental Commission. The LBHS Girls Softball team arrived to help from their scrimmage practice in midmorning.
Individual and family volunteers jumped in to help plant the bundles of plants distributed by SEA along the path in the sand. For now the plants will track along the edge of the boardwalk, with interest in building dunes on the beach with beach grass to add to the opportunity to offset the effects of storms and tides.
It was a job well done and has the thank you from Word on the Shore for the community service all delivered.