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Volunteers from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland join our Planet CLE call to action

Having community partners will make the difference, as 3News launches monthly challenges to boost environmental awareness

MENTOR, Ohio — Community partners are welcome to join in as WKYC Studios embarks on our year-long Planet CLE campaign, designed to build awareness of climate change and environmental issues facing our region.

We’re seeking as many partners as possible, to maximize the impact of our year-long initiative.

One of the first community groups to collaborate with us is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland. The mentoring organization took part in the kick-off of our June Planet CLE challenge, which is to participate in a beach or neighborhood clean-up.

Several pairs of Bigs and Littles joined our own WKYC Studios employees in Mentor to collect trash on Headlands Beach State Park on June 4.

The beach clean-up was not only a fun outing on a sunny Saturday morning, but it was “an opportunity for our Bigs and Littles to meet other matches and the fabulous 3News team, learn about the impact of plastics on our environment and give back to our community and our planet,” said Jessica Walters, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland.

RELATED: Planet CLE June challenge: Take time to clean up your community or local beach

“Strong mentoring relationships are built through spending time together, playing together and learning together. This was a perfect opportunity for that,” she added.

A hunt for beach litter turned out to be just the thing to engage volunteers of all levels – especially the youngest ones. Trent, one of the “Littles” who participated with his Big Brother, dashed along the beach, taking pride in the trashy treasures he pulled from the sand including pop cans and plastic toys.

Eighth-grader Sanai, who attended with Big Sister Carolyn, said during an interview on 3News that it meant a lot to “help the world out and make it better.” She helped our team bag up 33 pounds of trash from the lakefront, including cigarette butts, food wrappers and hundreds of plastic pieces.

For many participating in our clean-up, it was their first time visiting Headlands Beach State Park. And most were surprised to learn that it is the largest natural beach in Ohio.

According to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, which coordinated our beach clean-up, 22 million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes every year and get broken down into microbeads which are harmful to the environment and even the health of humans. For Northeast Ohioans, reducing plastic usage is a must, in order to limit the amount of plastic that ends up in the Great Lakes, according to the Alliance.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes hosts regular clean-ups of the entire Lake Erie shoreline; find a clean-up in your area on the Adopt-A-Beach website.

And if you would like to participate with WKYC Studios on one of our upcoming monthly Planet CLE challenges, send an email to Director of Advocacy & Community Initiatives Margaret Bernstein at mbernstein@wkyc.com

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