Move Forward Staten Island Celebrates Earth Month with Beach Clean-up


An estimated 50 Staten Islanders of all ages converged at the Great Kills Park Beach Center for a special Earth Month beach cleanup yesterday morning. The event was hosted by the National Park Service and the volunteer group was coordinated by Move Forward Staten Island, a local advocacy organization committed to working collaboratively to advance social justice issues and policies in the borough. This was the second year Move Forward Staten Island has organized volunteers for National Park Service’s beach clean-up in celebration of Earth Month.

“Removing plastics and other non-biodegradable materials from our beaches is not only important for the sake of our enjoyment, it is important for native wildlife that use our beaches as well,” said Jose Ramirez-Garafolo, Move Forward Staten Island Environmental Issues Chair. “National Parks, which serve both recreational and conservation purposes, and are vital to the overall health of the planet. We look forward to partnering with Gateway National Recreation Area in the future to continue this important stewardship work,” he continued.

The group collected dozens of garbage bags filled with debris and litter. In addition to single use plastic items like plastic bags, straws, as well as,cans and other trash, the group safely removed approximately 20 hypodermic needles.

“Move Forward Staten Island members from Tottenville to St. George and everywhere in between showed their love for our island by helping to clean it up, one bottle cap at a time,” said Julienne Verdi, Chair & Founder of Move Forward Staten Island who attended the clean-up with her 1-year-old daughter, Sloane. “It’s up to all of us to clean-up after ourselves and make smarter greener choices to protect our beautiful borough of parks for our children. They deserve clean beaches and parks where they can play safely.”

As lead organizers of the 2017 Staten Island People’s Climate March, climate change and other environmental issues are at the core of the work of Move Forward Staten Island. While climate change is a global issue, Move Forward Staten Island believes that we can effect change globally by acting locally. The organization urges Staten Islanders to care for the planet, starting at our very own shores.

While environmental issues are always a forefront for the organization, throughout the month of April Move Forward Staten Island will focus their organizing and advocacy efforts on the environment, pollution and climate change. Follow Move Forward Staten Island on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates and share posts via #LoveOurIsland. Those interested in participating in future clean-up events can contact Julienne Verdi, at

Rosanne Mottola