HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., Nov. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Marriott Vacation Club hosted the "We Care for Our Coastline" event today at Marriott's Barony Beach Club which focused on coastal preservation through the South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control's Adopt A Beach program. The event was attended by more than 40 business and community leaders, local officials, school groups, hospitality partners and Marriott Vacation Club associates. Event speakers included Bill Miles, president and chief executive officer, Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and Steve Riley, Town Manager for the Town of Hilton Head Island. Both speakers underscored the importance of involvement by local businesses and community groups in community service and echoed a shared sense of responsibility for preserving the natural resources and beauty of the island for the enjoyment by future generations.
Marriott Vacation Club's Hilton Head Island resorts announced an estimated 50 percent increase to the coastline it has adopted, now totaling just over six miles of the island's 15 miles of coastline and inlets. Marriott Vacation Club invited the community to join the program by adopting remaining sections of coastline.
"As Marriott Vacation Club approaches its 30th anniversary, Hilton Head Island was our first destination and from the very beginning we have been committed to a culture of caring for our communities through involvement in many impactful programs," said Ed Kinney, vice president, corporate affairs and communications, Marriott Vacations Worldwide. "Hilton Head Island is well-known for its pristine beaches and as one of the largest employers on the island, Marriott Vacation Club provides opportunities to continue making a lasting impact in many areas and caring for our coastline through the South Carolina Adopt A Beach program is a great fit and something we've been doing informally for many years," said Kinney.
The South Carolina Adopt A Beach program invites businesses and community groups to adopt one-mile stretches of beach along the State's coastline with a commitment to "sweep" the adopted areas a minimum of two times a year and submit collection reports via the programs website over a three-year period. Nine other groups on the island are involved in the program including the Environmental Club from the University of South Carolina, Beaufort campus which completed its first beach sweep this past weekend.
Over the past four years, Marriott Vacation Club's Hilton Head Island resorts have conducted up to four beach sweeps per year. These sweeps have involved a total of 251 associates and 295 hours of labor. As a result of such sweeps, Marriott Vacation Club helped remove approximately 620 pounds of loose trash that washed in from the ocean tide and peak season periods over its stretch of adopted coastline.
"Like all coastal states, South Carolina needs to balance the promotion, access and use of its beaches with environmental stewardship, outreach and education," said Dan Burger, director of coastal services at DHEC's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.
Burger said that marine debris is a chronic problem that is often caused unintentionally. The most frequently collected debris are items associated with picnics and cigarette filters.
"Hilton Head Island has a long history and strong reputation for environmental stewardship, and the beaches here are some of the finest in the state and country. However, even the best beaches need a little extra care and that is where our Adopt A Beach partners play an important role," said Burger.
Getting involved in the South Carolina Adopt-A-Beach program is simple. You may contact Sarah Latshaw, Adopt A Beach coordinator with the DHEC Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management at (843) 953-9237 and firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more by visiting the program website at https://www.scdhec.gov/environment/ocrm/adopt-a-beach.htm.
About Marriott Vacation Club
Marriott Vacation Club is a global leader in vacation ownership with over 417,000 Owners, a diverse portfolio of 54 resorts and more than 11,800 timeshare villas throughout the U.S., Caribbean, Europe and Asia. Marriott Vacation Club is a brand of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, the leading global pure-play vacation ownership company. For more information please visit www.marriottvacationclub.com or nightly rentals visit www.marriott.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MarriottVacClub and find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marriottvacationclub.
About DHEC Ocean and Coastal Resource Management DHEC Ocean and Coastal Resource Management strive to protect and enhance the state's coastal resources by preserving sensitive and fragile areas while promoting responsible development, public access and use of resources in the eight coastal counties of South Carolina. DHEC implements the Coastal Zone Management Program through the integration of regulation, planning and technical assistance to local governments and other stakeholders.
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