Ocracoke island's first organized litter pick-up happened 38 years ago today. In 1974 I taught at the Ocracoke School, and my class was discussing the environment. Here is an account of the litter pick-up from a personal letter written the day after the event:
"[The students] decided to organize a litter pick-up. They made signs to inform the community, constructed a coffin & tombstone, wrote 'hymns,' & appointed a 'preacher' to conduct the 'service.'
"The entire school spent 8:30 - 10:30 yesterday A.M. picking up trash; then met back at the school to have a funeral procession. the 'pallbearers' carried the coffin full of trash & beer cans from the school down to Capt. John's Junque Shop [now Down Point Decoys] where the service was held. At the head of the procession was a spur of the moment 'crucifer' carrying a highway sign that said 'Unlawful to Throw Trash on Highway -- $50 Fine.' That sign had been found discarded in the bushes along the road. The replacement sign says '$200 Fine,' and the kids figured the highway workers who erected the more recent sign probably just dumped the old one in the bushes!
"There was an electric organ set up at the Junque Shop.... The whole service was really humorous -- & the kids enjoyed it."
Ocracoke has had organized litter pick-ups every spring since 1974, but none as elaborate as that first one.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Civil War on the Outer Banks, Josephus Daniels, Jr, Secretary of the Navy during WWI, and his connection to Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022112.htm.