Team Leader Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for becoming an Adopt-a-Beach™ Team Leader! We’ve put together some FAQs to answer all your questions and make your Adopt-a-Beach cleanup successful and stress-free. You can also check out our How-to Guide and video resources for more information.
What does it mean to be a Team Leader?
A Team Leader is in charge of all aspects of a cleanup – setting it up on the Adopt-a-Beach website, bringing supplies for your participants, checking in and welcoming participants, giving an introduction to the Adopt-a-Beach program, explaining how and why to collect data, disposing of litter after the cleanup, and entering attendance and data into the website after the cleanup if over.
It might sound like a lot, but our Team Leader resources help you every step of the way! Additionally, Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach staff are ready to answer additional questions and provide you with support. Email us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I have to officially “adopt” a beach, or can I just lead a single cleanup?
Despite “adopt” in the name, no long-term commitment is required. Whether you want to join us for one cleanup, participate or lead a couple each year, or make a longer-term commitment to a particular beach, we want you to be a part of it!
How old do I have to be to be a Team Leader?
Team Leaders must be 18 years old or older. If you are under 18 and would like to organize a cleanup, you MUST have an adult register and attend the cleanup as the Team Leader, but you may be involved with organizing, publicizing, and speaking at the cleanup. Please email email@example.com with any questions.
How do I register to become a Team Leader?
To become a Team Leader, create an account on the Adopt-a-Beach website by filling out the required fields and agreeing to the waiver and photo release. Once your account has been created, you will be able to schedule your cleanups, share registration links with volunteers, enter litter data, and see the results of your efforts! Watch this video for step-by-step instructions on creating an account.
How do I create an Adopt-a-Beach cleanup?
To create an Adopt-a-Beach cleanup, you first have to create a Team Leader account. Once you have registered and logged in, click Host a Cleanup on the blue navigation bar at the top of the home page. Then, follow the prompts to select a beach location and provide cleanup details. Once you click confirm, your cleanup will be listed on the Find a Cleanup page! Watch this video for step-by-step instructions on creating a cleanup.
The beach I would like to host a cleanup at is not listed on the Adopt-a-Beach website. Can I still lead a cleanup at this location?
If you would like to lead a cleanup at a beach that is not appearing in the search when you are creating a cleanup, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will create a new site in our system!
Do I need to get permits to host a cleanup?
Permission and permits needed vary from place to place. Cleanups held on public land and under a minimum group size generally do not need special permitting to host cleanups. Take extra care to learn about permitting needs or other events happening at your beach if you plan to host a cleanup with more than 50 people, or plan to have tents, food, music, giveaways, etc. These circumstances may require special permitting. Always check your local state or municipal parks district website for specific requirements.
The Alliance has standing agreements with a following entities to host basic cleanups:
- Cleanups on public park land in the City of Chicago do not need to apply for permits unless the event will cause interference with the public way or plans to have significant tenting or food for sale.
- Cleanups on public park land in the City of Cleveland do not need to apply for permits unless the event will have more than 50 people or include activities other than litter cleanup.
- Cleanups at Michigan state parks do not need to apply for permits unless they plan to have more than 50 people (in the spring) or 100 people (in the summer).
When hosting cleanups on private land, always be sure to check with the owner for permission before setting up your cleanup.
If you have questions around permitting, reach out to us at email@example.com and we can assist you with finding the proper resources.
What does it mean to create a “private” cleanup?
Private cleanups mean that community members looking to join a cleanup will not be able to register for your cleanup. We encourage you to make your cleanups public so other committed and caring community members may join you!
While you are welcome to make any of your cleanups private, private cleanups are intended for school groups or groups with minors, corporate groups, or locations with private land ownership restrictions.
Why won’t the system allow me to select a particular date?
There could be many reasons a beach is unavailable for a cleanup on a particular date. It’s possible another Team Leader has already scheduled a cleanup for the same location on that date. When a cleanup is scheduled at a location, the day before and the day after are also blocked in the system, so there aren’t cleanups right after one another.
Additionally, sometimes our state or local park partners have requested we block off a particular day for a special event or safety reason.
When a particular date is blocked, try selecting another date or location. If you believe the problem is in error, or want to inquire about hosting a cleanup on the same day as another group, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I recruit participants for my cleanup?
Recruitment for your cleanup is limited only by your imagination! We have many resources to help you get started. On the resources page, there are links to customizable event flyers, social media post templates, and even a press release template. Local publications love to hear about and promote community events!
Can I share on social media about my cleanup?
Yes! Please feel free to recruit for your cleanup on social media, or post pictures, quotes, or thoughts during or after your cleanup. We’d love to see your contribution! Make sure to tag us @A4GL on Twitter or @Alliance4GreatLakes on Instagram and your photos might be shared on our social media channels or in our annual Adopt-a-Beach reporting.
How do I view or print a list of registrants for my cleanup?
To view or print a roster for your cleanup, click “My Cleanups” on the blue navigation bar at the top of the home page. Select a cleanup to open that cleanup’s details page. Click on the “Registrations” tab to view a roster of registered participants. If you would like to print a copy, will find a “Print Roster” button in the drop-down menu located to the right of the “Litter Data” button. Watch this video for step-by-step instructions on accessing or printing your roster.
How do I change details of my cleanup (time, location, date, etc.)? How can I notify registrants of changes?
To change any details of your cleanup, click “My Cleanups” on the blue navigation bar at the top of the home page. Click on the cleanup to open the cleanup details page. The “Edit” button in the upper right corner will allow you to make changes. When changes are made to the date, start time, beach, meetup location, or Team Leader fields, all registrants will be automatically notified of the change. Registrants will also be notified if you cancel your cleanup. Watch this video for step-by-step instructions on editing your cleanup.
What do I need to do to prepare for my Adopt-a-Beach cleanup? What should I bring to my cleanup?
Review the Team Leader How-to Guide for a checklist to help you prepare for, lead, and wrap up your Adopt-a-Beach cleanup. This includes a list of required and suggested materials to bring to your cleanup. If you have any additional questions, always feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Does the Alliance for the Great Lakes supply materials for cleanups?
When you create a cleanup, you will be able to select what supplies you would like us to mail to you. To reduce our carbon footprint from shipping bags and gloves and to encourage the use of reusable supplies, there is the option for the Alliance to send a $5 gift card per cleanup to help subsidize the cost of bags, gloves, buckets, or other supplies purchased by the Team Leader. There is an option for us to mail litter forms, or you can print the necessary forms (Sign-in Sheet, Litter Monitoring Form, etc.) directly from the Team Leader Resources page.
Due to mailing times, only cleanups created at least two weeks in advance of the cleanup date qualify to receive supplies.
How do I access Adopt-a-Beach documents and resources?
You can view helpful resources, such as forms and training materials, on the Team Leader Resources page.
Where do I dispose of the litter that we collect?
You should dispose of your collected litter and/or recycling in the appropriate receptacles provided at your beach location. If the receptacles are full, you can neatly place closed bags next to the receptacles. If this occurs, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can let the park district know.
How do I report attendance for my cleanup?
To record your cleanup attendance, click “My Cleanups” on the blue navigation bar at the top of the home page. Click on the cleanup you would like edit. On the cleanup details page, click the “Attendance” button in the upper right.
Entering attendance has 3 steps:
- On the roster that appears, check the participants who attended your cleanup and click “submit.”
- Manually enter information from anyone who attended your cleanup as a walk-up and registered via a paper waiver.
- Confirm once more how many people attended your cleanup and how long the cleanup lasted.
Watch this video for step-by-step instructions on entering attendance.
How do I enter litter data for my cleanup?
To record your litter data, click “My Cleanups” on the blue navigation bar at the top of the home page. Click on the cleanup you would like edit. On the cleanup details page, click the “Litter Data” button in the upper right.
Enter the total weight of litter that was collected at your cleanup, along with total litter counts for each item listed on the Litter Monitoring Form.
Once your litter data is entered, you will be able to view a summary and graph in the “Litter Collected” tab on the Cleanup Details page.
Watch this video for step-by-step instructions on entering litter data.
Why is it important to collect and enter litter data from my cleanup? What happens to all this data?
Collecting data on exactly what types and how much litter is found on beaches helps scientists study sources of pollution and helps policy makers make the case for new programs and policies. When a Team Leader enters litter data after a cleanup, their data is added into a larger Great Lakes coastal litter database, maintained by the Alliance for the Great Lakes. Once a year, the Alliance sends our regional database to the Ocean Conservancy, who maintains a global database of coastal litter. Read more on our data and reporting page!
How do I create multiple Adopt-a-Beach cleanups with repeating cleanup details?
Thank you for hosting multiple cleanups! The Adopt-a-Beach website allows you to “clone” one of your previous or upcoming cleanups, so you can duplicate a cleanup and just change certain details, such as date or beach location.
Click “My Cleanups” on the blue navigation bar at the top of the home page. Click on the cleanup you would like to clone to open that cleanup’s details page. You will find a “Clone” button in the drop-down menu located to the right of the “Litter Data” button. A screen will pop up with a cloned version of your cleanup that you can edit and “Save.”
Watch this video for step-by-step instructions on cloning your cleanup.
What should I do if the weather is bad on my cleanup day?
Whether or not to hold an Adopt-a-Beach cleanup during inclement weather is at the discretion of the individual Team Leader. Check our cleanup safety page for some general guidelines. If you choose to not hold a cleanup for any reason, you can cancel the cleanup and all registrants will automatically be notified.
Are there other recommendations for keeping volunteers safe at Adopt-a-Beach events?
Safety first! We have provided a list of safety-related best practices for Adopt-a-Beach Team Leaders on the Safety and Your Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup page. You will find information on COVID-19 safety as well as information about high water levels and general Adopt-a-Beach safety guidelines.
I am an educator. Are there any additional resources I can use with my students?
Yes! We have free lesson plans you can use before, during, and after your Adopt-a-Beach cleanup. The Alliance also offers a Great Lakes curriculum for grades K-12 – Great Lakes in My World– available as a free download.
Reach out to us at email@example.com if you have any additional questions!