Coastal debris coordinator, Michele Klimczak has been collecting garbage on Fishers Island for about two decades – and full time for the FI Conservancy since 2018. In these past three years she has helped to remove more than 32,000 pounds of garbage from our shores, with no end in sight. Much of the trash Michele finds is tiny plastics that may be easy to overlook, but can be detrimental to our natural environment.

To learn more about how Michele’s efforts are so vital for the wildlife that inhabit our beach community and why more may need to done beyond our shores to help combat the growing problem, please see the article posted on Inside Climate News:

The ‘Sisyphus of Trash’ Struggles to Clean Relentless Waves of Plastic From a New York Island’s Beaches

Michele Klimczak’s passion for cleaning the beaches of Fishers Island led to a full-time, year-round job, but she still can’t keep up with the flood of plastic waste.

By Devin Speak
Inside Climate News
June 20, 2023

Photo Credit: Devin Speak

Michele Klimczak, FIConservancy’s Marine Debris Coordinator hauls debris from Fishers Island beach. Ian Lockey Photo

Fishers Island is being inundated with marine debris: Fishers Island Conservancy has cleared and hauled away over 10 tons in the past two years.

Michele Klimczak, FIConservancy’s Marine Debris Coordinator, has the monumental task of clearing this pollution year-round to help conserve our Island and protect our wildlife and community. But there’s still more shoreline to cover and more debris to collect.

We need your help! Sign up here.

Last summer, dozens of Islanders joined in our beach cleanup efforts, contributing to THOUSANDS of pounds of marine debris being cleared from Fishers Island’s shores. Will you join us this year? Here’s how:

How to Become a Shoreline Superstar

Step 1: Sign up here!

Step 2: Review our Beach Cleanup Safety Guidelines below.

Step 3: Gather friends and family and bring a bag to the beach.

Step 4:

  • Text Michele at 631-800-9394 whenever you have a full bag so she can collect the debris & snap a photo of you and your haul.
  • OR, you can take your own photo, drop your bag at the FIConservancy truck by the movie theater and text Michele your photo and beach clean up location.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 & 4 when you can.

Michele will weigh and sort the debris, properly disposing of anything that cannot be reused.

The three teams that collect the most marine debris throughout the summer will receive prizes!

Together, we can help conserve Fishers Island and its waters. JOIN US HERE.

Enormous thanks to Michele for her passion and hard work and to you for your continued support. Together, we can “Keep it Clean” to help conserve beautiful Fishers Island.

See you on the beach!

IMPORTANT: Beach Cleanup Safety Guidelines

Rusted metal, hypodermic needles, glass and sharp plastic are commonly encountered during beach cleanup. The following guidelines should be followed to ensure safety.

What to bring:

  • Large bags, preferably reusable, in which to place the debris
  • A “sharps container” for items found such as metal or glass
  • A trash/debris nabber, if you have one

What to wear:

  • Thick work gloves to protect your hands
  • Fully enclosed, supportive shoes (no sandals or open-toed shoes)
  • Long pants are preferable, and don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat

What to do:

  • Bags should be carried an arm’s length from body for your safety
  • Follow the steps listed above and have fun!

A New York-based multimedia artist, producer, filmmaker and environmentalist, currently living on Fishers Island year-round, has created an eight-minute video, OCEANICA 2020, as a personal present to the Fishers Island Conservancy.

In 2019, Island resident Michele Klimczak collected an astounding 8441 pounds of marine debris from the shores of Fishers Island. Michele is employed by FIConservancy to patrol multiple Island locations and clear away marine debris.

Marine Debris

Storms surrounding Fishers Island only deliver marine debris “faster” into our precious coves, harbors and surrounding coastline –we are, though, everyday constantly under “siege”…
– A Snippet from The Field by Justine Kibbe March 2, 2018

John Peishoff

John Peishoff's 889th Lobster Pot

– Audio Chat by Justine Kibbe October 1, 2017.

I chat with lifelong Islander John Peishoff about the necessity and importance of Fishers Island Stewardship. To date, he’s picked-up, hauled, and taken to the dump 889 wire Lobster pots-line them together; that’s over a half mile!

Earthday EVERYday

Or so it should be. Stewardship on Fishers Island should be a constant – Marine Debris certainly is.