Ryan Mroch Organizes and Leads Trash Trawl

Ryan Mroch attended our Children’s Religious Education classes before COVID.  His mom, Kristi, is a UCF member.

Ryan Mroch, an eighth grader at Morehead City Middle School, successfully hosted his first annual Carteret County Trash Trawl on April 24 at Gallants Channel. The trash trawl is a garbage collection competition but done in Big Rock style! Thirty-five contestants used their personal non-motorized boats or walked on land to collect trash and brought it back to be weighed. The team collecting the most trash won the event.

This year, the Speckled Belly Puppy Drum collected 723.9 lbs. of trash to win the event, along with the coveted Golden Starfish trophy and gift certificates from local businesses. Ryan melted aluminum cans to create the starfish and mounted it on driftwood found on one of his beach clean-ups to create the trophy. Overall, 3,266.7 lbs. of trash were collected at the event.

Ryan Mroch
Ryan Mroch organized the event and hand-made the trophies
UCF member Linda Rudd her trash haul

Ryan is an Eagle Scout and Sea Scout pursuing a Hornaday Medal with this project. A Hornaday Project is an Eagle-level project that focuses on conservation, but also requires scouts to do independent research on their topic. For his research, Ryan has organized weekly beach cleanups of Radio Island Beach since August. In total, volunteers and contestants of the Trash Trawl have invested over 1,200 hours in this effort.

Ryan learned that marine debris was an issue in Carteret County when he attended a Commissioners’ meeting for a merit badge. He decided to do something about the problem and came up with this idea for the event. Although only one team could win the coveted Golden Starfish trophy, the earth won with this event!

Ryan isn’t finished yet though. To complete the requirements for the award, he has one final project to lead. In May, he will be supervising the planting of thousands of marsh grass plugs to help stabilize the living shoreline at Carteret Community College. If you’re interested in being a part of this, please contact him.