Home / Compass Events / The Compass School International Coastal Cleanup: 2020 Edition!


This year the Compass School will continue our tradition of joining the international movement to keep our beaches clean. However, as with so many activities during the Covid Era, we need to do things a little differently.

Circa 2015: Beach clean up success! Social distancing fail…

This year we ask that families choose a time to clean their own favorite beach in small groups of their own choosing (following Rhode Island state guidelines, of course.) If you don’t have a favorite beach, East Matunuck Beach in Charlestown is our traditional clean-up location and usually isn’t crowded in the spring after school starts.

And just in time for a pandemic, the Ocean Conservancy has launched a new “CleanSwell” app which you can use to track the items you pick up. If you put “The Compass School” in the app’s group field, we’ll be able to collate our school’s efforts, even if we can’t all meet together in East Matunuck.

Below are links to the new app and a helpful tutorial video.

Save the Date

  • Date & Time: Family choice, but September-ish. We’ll tally everyone’s results later in the fall!
  • Location: Your favorite beach or our traditional clean-up site, East Matunuck Beach

Checklist Before Leaving for Your Cleanup

  • Download the app and register before leaving home (in case you don’t have internet reception at the beach).
  • Only one person in your group needs to download the app and register.
  • View The Ocean Conservancy’s tutorial video.
  • Bring some bags and/or buckets for your trash and some gloves for your hands. And never fill up trash barrels so others can’t use them, or leave bags of trash to be picked up without arranging it with the town or park manager. Be prepared to take it home with you!
  • During the cleanup, beware of any dangerous items, like needles, broken glass, nails, etc. See the Safety Note below.
  • Have fun and take pics! (We’ll collect your photos later.)
  • And don’t forget to put “The Compass School” in the app’s group field.
  • Questions? Email josh dot mccall @ gmail dot com

A Note on Safety

A majority of littered items are things like cigarette butts, straws, and cups which can potentially be contaminated with the coronavirus. People doing independent cleanups are advised to treat all litter as contaminated and to use maximum care in sanitizing hands and equipment (such as buckets or grabbers) after cleaning up.

We recommend NOT using the Clean Swell app while you are cleaning up to avoid cross-contaminating your phone. If you are working with a partner in your household, one person can record data while the other cleans up.