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Teens to clean up debris from washed away houses on Hunting Island

With the help of more than 40 members of the Naval Junior ROTC at Wade Hampton High School in Varnville, Hunting Island State Park staff hope to clean up debris left after some of the island's cabins washed into the ocean this summer.

Park staff and the students will pick up debris today along Cabin Road, a section of Hunting Island hit hard by shoreline erosion and high tides that wiped out sand dunes and washed away palmetto trees and homes in July.

"It's great to have 40 extra people to help clean up the huge amount of lumber and other debris that we have out there, and it also gives them a chance to interact with the environment and see what the repercussions are of what humans can do to the environment," said park manager Jeff Atkins.

The students will join more than 200 volunteers who have signed up to participate in an islandwide Beach Sweep organized by the Friends of Hunting Island. The group held a similar event in April, in which it helped remove more than 500 pounds of trash, according to the group's Web site.

The Hunting Island cleanup is one of many across the county and state Saturday as part of the 24th annual International Coastal Cleanup. From 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers will also clean beach sites in Bluffton and on Harbor, Hunting, Fripp, Daufuskie and Hilton Head islands.

Last year, 521 people volunteered in Beaufort County, collecting 3,771 pounds of trash. Internationally, about 400,000 people volunteered last year. They collected more than 6.8 million pounds of trash, according to the International Ocean Conservancy's Web site.

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