What Our Water's Worth is a campaign led by the Metropolitan Planning Council and Openlands to raise awareness about the value of water in northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana.

Beach cleanups a practice worth "parroting"

Terri Dale, head of the Northwest Indiana Parrothead Club's Adopt-a-Beach program.

Lake Michigan’s sandy shores may not be the first to spring to mind when imagining oneself lounging on the beach listening to “Margaritaville.” Yet Terri Dale of northwest Indiana, and her band of fellow Jimmy Buffett fans, aka “Parrotheads,” found a match made in paradise in their mutual appreciation for a certain cheeseburger-and-island-loving crooner and the Great Lakes’ sandy shores. Led by Dale – secretary of the Northwest Indiana Parrothead Club and head of the group’s Adopt-a-Beach™ team – these Parrotheads have been “partying with a purpose” by participating in the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ Adopt-a-Beach™ program since 2008.

September is a banner month for beach cleanups around the world. The Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup on Sept. 17 has organized nearly 9 million volunteers in 152 countries to spruce up some 300,000 miles of shoreline over the past 25 years. In the Great Lakes region, the event is known as September Adopt-a-Beach™, with dozens of cleanups scheduled for beaches in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Read the whole story and find out when and where you can volunteer to help clean up a beach. >>

September 2011

Illinois American Water (lead sponsor)

Upcoming events

Sep 15 Emerging Contaminants, Emerging Solutions: Proactive Water Quality Management in the Face of New Threats 12:00 PM–1:30 PM
Oct 25–26 Great Lakes Sustainability Summit 1:00 PM–12:00 PM

More events »

What Our Water's Worth is a campaign led by the Metropolitan Planning Council and Openlands to raise awareness about the value of water in northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. From Lake Michigan to the Fox River, how we use our water resources—including what we conserve, how much we waste, and what we choose to invest in water quality—is up to each of us. This is our water—and it's worth more than we know.

WOWW Factors


The value of the time and efforts contributed by volunteers in 2010 in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

31,295 lbs

Amount of trash removed by more than 10,700 volunteers at 292 beaches in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota in 2010.

24 hours

Time it takes for standard water quality testing done by beach authorities to produce results. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has pilot-tested rapid-testing and predictive modeling systems that provide real-time results, but they have been implemented at only a few beaches, including Forest Park Beach in Lake Forest, Ill., Rosewood Beach in Highland Park, Ill., and Waukegan Beach in Waukegan, Ill.

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