Volunteers help clean up O.C. beaches during the fall Clean Ocean Action event. (Photo courtesy Charlotte Moyer) By BILL BARLOW Shane Price, a junior at Audubon High School, said the idea of trash on the beach bothered him.He spoke to one of his teachers, Cheryl Fisher, a science teacher and the advisor to the Roots and Shoots club at the school.He said she sent him a link to the beach cleanup and helped him organize his classmates for a trip to Ocean City for the fall beach cleanup, held Saturday morning, Oct. 26.“They drove over an hour to be here,” Fisher said of the students, mostly juniors, who hit the beach before 9 a.m. “The students wanted to do this. I’m elated to help out.”The day remained overcast and a little chilly, but there was no rain to soak the volunteers.One volunteer finds a doll.Scouring the beach from the Music Pier at Moorlyn Terrace to the Ocean City Fishing Club Pier in the distance at 14th Street, the Audubon students hauled back plastic debris, pizza trays, construction material including PVC pipes and more.“I found half a rabbit,” Fisher said. One of the students reported finding a dead mouse. Neither are litter in the traditional sense, but both were cleaned off the beaches.They also turned up numerous cigarette butts, along with plastic tips from cigars and many discarded cartridges from vape pens.Cigarette butts were one of the most common items on beach sweeps, according to Charlotte Moyer of the Ocean City Public Works Department. She’s a member of the Clean Communities committee and the city’s Recycling Coordinator.For the past 10 years, Moyer has helped organize the beach cleanup efforts, which are performed by volunteers in coordination with Clean Ocean Action.Moyer was not certain how long the event had taken place in Ocean City. It was already established when she started a decade ago.Clean Ocean Action has held the event around New Jersey for almost 35 years, with thousands of volunteers pitching in over the years.This year, she said, 316 people participated, describing it as a remarkable turnout for the fall event. The spring cleanup is usually larger, and this year’s broke a record with more than 400 volunteers turning up.The event ran from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.As the cleanup came to a close, Moyer said at least two large dump trucks full of trash were removed from the beach. ‘And that’s just what was brought back here,” she said, standing in front of the Music Pier. More bags were being collected by the Public Works crews around the town.Bags of garbage from the beach sweep prove a successful day.It was too early to give a definitive report on what was collected, but she said the amount seemed consistent with last year. Cigarette filters, which were once the number one item, were down on the list, with pieces of plastic and caps and lids to bottles now topping the percentage.In the beach sweep last fall, taking place over 60 sites, close to 19,000 straws were collected. The annual report from Clean Ocean Action showed more than 40,000 candy wrappers and more than 75,800 pieces of plastic removed from the beach.Cigarette butts were not No. 1, but they remained plentiful, with close to 22,000 picked from New Jersey beaches in the two beach sweeps in 2018.Moyer said the Audubon High School classmates were great volunteers, and said numerous other organizations, church groups and scout troops were also on hand to help out.Among those who participated this year were South Jersey Coastal Fly Anglers, the Ocean City Colony Club, the Ocean City High School Key Club, Boy Scout Troop 32, the Upper Township Middle School and many individuals.Moyer mentioned a Barbie doll that looked a little worse for wear, and said the volunteers found a lot of wood, along with foam from docks.She cited a recent northeast storm that brought high tides to Ocean City. Rough weather and strong currents can damage docks and move things on the ocean floor.“The storms can really stir things up,” she said. “You never know what you’re going to find.”Shane Price of Audubon High School and classmates give a hand.