Keeping our beaches clean starts with you!

Join a Cleanup

Make a difference – join us on the beach

Adopt-a-Beach cleanups are a fun, easy way to give back to your community and keep plastic pollution out of our Great Lakes.

It’s easy to jump right into the Adopt-a-Beach community.

Ways to get involved

Three reasons Adopt-a-Beach cleanups are kind of a big deal

  • Clean Beaches. Each year, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers remove tens of thousands of pounds of litter from their local beaches. About 85% of it is plastic. Tackling plastic pollution in the Great Lakes is no small task, but together we can make a difference.
  • Collected Data. Volunteers have collected over 20 years of cleanup data. Scientists use Adopt-a-Beach data to study the sources of plastic pollution, and this information helps decision makers make the case for policies that protect the lakes.
  • Committed Communities. For more than 30 years, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers have worked to keep Great Lakes shorelines healthy, safe, and beautiful. Every year, thousands of volunteers join cleanups on all five Great Lakes and in each of the eight Great Lake states.

How it works

At Adopt-a-Beach cleanups, locally organized teams of volunteers, led by volunteer Team Leaders, clean local beaches and collect data on the litter they find. After the cleanups end, the Team Leaders enter litter data into our database, helping us form a picture of coastal litter across the entire Great Lakes region.

Despite “adopt” in the name, no long-term commitment is required. Join us for one cleanup or make a longer-term commitment. We want you to be part of it!


Connect your classroom to the Adopt-a-Beach program with free lesson plans and special activities. Looking for more? Check out our NGSS-aligned K-12 Great Lakes curriculum, Great Lakes in My World.


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