Who is KIBCU?
Updated: Apr 17
Kent Island Beach Cleanups, commonly referred to as KIBCU, is a small, true grassroots group that was founded on a simple idea that has since blossomed into a community-based organization dedicated to keeping Queen Anne’s County debris-free. It all started in the Winter of 2012 when my family and I moved from the Western Shore to Kent Island.
We were in search of local beaches where we could swim, have picnics, walk our dog, and just enjoy the easy pleasures of island living on the Chesapeake Bay. We were completely appalled upon finding carelessly discarded trash along the beach and hidden within the bay grasses, including several used baby diapers just left in the sand. The park signs with information on the area, including the park rules were outdated, and there was little presence from the county parks department. Each time our family would visit the beaches, we found ourselves spending more time cleaning up and complaining than we did enjoying one another’s company. It was in that moment that we realized we needed to act.
Later that year, I contacted a few local environmental groups hoping to get involved and meet new people in the community. It was at that time that I was contacted by the Ocean Conservancy – a nonprofit environmental advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., United States. The organization helps formulate ocean policy at the federal and state government levels based on peer reviewed science.
The Ocean Conservancy asked if I was willing to host a cleanup on Kent Island stating that they really had not had much of a presence in the area, and that they had been searching for someone to conduct a beach cleanup for their upcoming annual event. Since 1986, the Ocean Conservancy organizes a large, annually cleanup called the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). The ICC is a worldwide cleanup where people, groups, and volunteer organizations from all over the globe gather on one day to clean a local beach, stream, bay, or waterway of their choice and their community. Each group counts every piece of trash they pick up and logs it onto a data card. The data cards are then tallied and then submitted to the Ocean Conservancy. At the end of each year, a report is developed and published showing the worldwide results of all the cleanups.
The data is used to raise awareness, develop policy solutions, and define, specifically, what types of debris are found in definite areas of the world. The information is also used to determine if there are any uncommon pollution events.
In September of 2012, I hosted my first cleanup at Terrapin Beach Park, where just 4 other locals and myself collected a wide range of debris to submit to the Ocean Conservancy. People visiting the park stopped and told us stories of how they used to see people cleaning the beach years ago, but that they hadn’t seen a group there in a while. Many even jogged by and just yelled “thank you!” It was the most fulfilling feeling I had ever had. I thought to myself, “I can’t stop here. I am going to make this my hobby…my mission going forward.” At that moment, Kent Island Beach Cleanups (KIBCU) was born.
KIBCU has been organizing 10-12 cleanups each year, expanding beyond Terrapin Beach Park and hosting volunteers at over 10 locations throughout Queen Anne’s County. In 2016, we started our first Leaders in Training High School Internship program where local Queen Anne’s County students can apply to assist us with finding younger volunteers while having the opportunity to learn more about what it takes to lead and make important environmental decisions in our community. Since 2012, our organization has hosted over 100 cleanups, including eight International Coastal Cleanups. We've partnered with Queen Anne’s County schools and several other local non-profit organizations, signed over 1,700 volunteer hours letters, and collected over 300,000 pieces of debris and we are still counting!
Kristin Weed is the President & Founder of Kent Island Beach Cleanups, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.
Kent Island Beach Cleanups (KIBCU) is an organization whose mission is to protect and preserve the beauty of the beaches, parks, and estuaries of Kent Island, MD through regular cleanups, education, awareness, social and communal responsibility and advocacy.