(Plain Press, October 2015) On Saturday, September 12, teams participating in the Great Lake Erie Boat Float’s 2015 competition brought their boats, made from recycled materials, to Edgewater Beach hoping to see if they would float and win a race with other similarly constructed water craft. However, the water proved too rough that morning for the small craft to venture out.
The Cleveland Metroparks, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Sustainable Cleveland 2019 sponsored the Great Lake Erie Boat Float. Sponsors supporting the event were the Cleveland Lakefront Parks Conservancy and RES Polyflow.
Judges in the contest – Jennifer Fay, President of Retap North America, Stephen Love team leader of the Euclid Beach Adopt-A-Beach program, and Jan Rybka, District Administrator of the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District — proved creative and added a new category to replace that of the Fastest Boat – Most Enthusiastic team.
The winning team in the new, Most Enthusiastic category was a family that attended the Great Lake Erie Boat Float last year and decided then that they would participate this year in the competition. They spent the year collecting large plastic Coke bottles and built their boat, naming it Hausenfeffer. Members of the team are: Al Demor, Julie Demor, Joe Adams, age 10, Cameron Adams, age 7, and Colton Krafcheck, age 5.
Two other categories judged in the competition each year are Most Artistic Style and Best Use of Recyclable Materials.
Winners in the competition for Most Artistic Style were the creators of Jurastic Ark II. Three members of the Venture Crew 575 out of Northfield, Ohio designed and built the boat: Adam Corrao, age 18 of Independence, Ohio; Madeline Connelly, age 16 of Hudson, Ohio and Hope Austin, age 16 of Nordonia, Ohio.
Winners in the competition for Best Use of Recycled Materials were the creators of A Watershed Moment. The group’s design included plastic kitty litter jugs held together with rope woven from plastic bags to help float their boat. The oars were made from the round lids of plastic tubs. A Watershed Moment’s design team included: Erin Tesny, Maggie Kane, Carrie Hansen, David Saja, Megan Smith, Leila Jackson and Ellen Brown-Armstrung.
The Great Lake Erie Boat Float also features fun for youths under age 12. Those entering the Li’l Sailor category were observed with domes on their heads representing their Domes entry in the competition. The youths had fun sitting on and examining some of the other entries in the competition such as the large craft designed by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District staff members, What a Waste, But Sewerly Missed, made using 55 gallon sample buckets to add buoyancy to their craft.
Prior to the awards ceremony, Cathi Lehn, Sustainable Cleveland Coordinator from the City of Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability, talked about the importance of tackling plastic pollution in Lake Erie. She added another word to the mantra “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” – “Re-Think.” She urged those in attendance not to buy facial scrubs containing polyethyene micro beads. She said facial scrubs as well as some toothpaste contain these plastic micro beads, which are polluting the lake. She urged the use of natural facial scrubs such as Burt’s Bees and toothpaste without micro beads as alternatives. She also urged people to purchase products with less packaging to help reduce waste. Boat teams were also offered the option to donate the plastic from their boats to RES Polyflow, which converts petroleum-based materials like plastic into crude oil. Representatives of the company were on hand to take the plastic materials.
Following the awards ceremony those present were asked to join with Drink Local. Drink Tap, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly and the Adopt A Beach Program to clean up debris from Edgewater Beach. A large bucket of plastic cigar tips, which had washed up on the beach, was on display for volunteers to view one of the problem items afflicting Lake Erie.
Editor’s Note: Check the Great Lake Erie Boat Float website at http://www.lakeerieboatfloat.org for information on cutting down on plastic pollution in the lake and to keep informed about how to sign up for next fall’s event. Entry is free – start building your boat now.