Local women participate in Women’s Dive Day

News Photo by Jordan Spence Meaghan Gass, left, and Jackie Krawczak go over the trash they collected from Lake Huron during the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Women’s Dive Day.

ALPENA — An old horseshoe was just one of the many objects found in the Thunder Bay River and Lake Huron Saturday.

The horseshoe was picked up by divers during Clean It Up, an event organized by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) on Women’s Dive Day.

The event was hosted by Great Lakes Divers, who were also joined by volunteers who walked along the Maritime Heritage Trail to pick up trash on the shoreline.

“The goal is to have a positive experience and not alienate anyone. It is an all inclusive event. It’s to inspire the next generation of female divers. Only 30 percent of divers are female,” said diver Stephanie Gandulla.

Alpena students Sylvie Luther, and Sydney Silver, both 11 years old, helped pick up trash on land.

“We put together a bunch of beach cleanups like this,” Silver said.

She said they collected different weight varieties of trash. They picked up a lot of bottles and cans and more than 250 cigarette butts, Silver said.

The kind and number of items collected will be be added to the citizen science database to track marine debris all over the world.

Luther said she likes to help with events such as this.

“If the Earth treated us like we do, it would not be good. If most people aren’t going to do it (pick-up trash) I think someone should,” Luther said.

The dive day is an international event where about 700 events took place in more than 70 countries.

It was first created in 2015 to promote the love and bond women divers have for the ocean and the Great Lakes.

“Having the community come together for a common cause to dive and to protect the Great Lakes is wonderful. It’s also good for people to see you can connect (volunteer) service to things you already love to do,” said diver Meaghan Gass.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.