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Shedd Aquarium To Help Clean Up 12th Street Beach

Volunteers with the Shedd Aquarium clean up trash and debris from the nearby 12th Street Beach on April 18, 2012, after the aquarium adopted the beach for Earth Day. The aquarium will sweep the beach once a month through October to clean up trash and debris left in the sand. (Credit: CBS)

Volunteers with the Shedd Aquarium clean up trash and debris from the nearby 12th Street Beach on April 18, 2012, after the aquarium adopted the beach for Earth Day. The aquarium will sweep the beach once a month through October to clean up trash and debris left in the sand. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Shedd Aquarium has adopted a beach near the aquarium for Earth Day, and will help remove trash and debris from the sand for the next several months.

Museum officials and other volunteers will survey 12th Street Beach once a month through the fall, and pick up whatever trash and debris Chicago Park District rakes might have missed.

Ten-year-old Grace Trudeau joined the volunteers at the beach on Wednesday.

“We were supposed to do an Earth Day volunteer, or do a poem, and I wanted to do an Earth Day, because it helps the Earth,” she said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

Grace acknowledged she’s cleaning up what others dumped or discarded at the beach.

“I don’t really think it’s fair, because it’s their stuff, they should clean up,” she said. “But, if they don’t clean up, and you don’t clean up, then you’re both polluting, pretty much.”

Grace, a 4th grader at Cook Elementary School, joined her mother and several other volunteers to clean up the beach on Wednesday.

Among the items found on the 12th Street Beach on Wednesday were a kite, plastic straws, several plastic bottles, driftwood, and some unexplained bricks.

Shedd Aquarium Great Lakes Program Manager Sam Bugg whipped up volunteers into cleanup fervor at the beach, which had been partially cleaned up by the Chicago Park District, but still held enough trash to keep the baggers busy.

“I have wood, I have glass, I have plastic,” volunteer Shakena Horton said. “It looks very clean from a distance, but up close and personal, it’s a lot of debris out here.”

The Shedd has joined the Adopt A Beach program, to clean up up the 12th Street Beach once a month through October. Crews will careful log each piece of debris picked up from the beach, so its source can be traced and hopefully stopped.