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  • Writer's pictureTopsail Times

Pender County Earns National Achievement Award For Beach Clean Project

BURGAW – Pender County and the program Beach Clean, have been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The award honors innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

“Beach Clean is a continuing project that is a collaboration with the Topsail Island Shoreline Protection Commission, Topsail Beach, Surf City, North Topsail Beach, and Onslow County Tourism,” said Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism Director whose department nominated the Beach Clean project for this national honor. “The project is educational for our visitors and residents to keep our beaches, rivers, and waterways clean and sustainable.”

Each year NACo’s Achievement Awards are given in 18 categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services that counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement, and more. Launched in 1970, the program is designed to recognize innovation in county government. Each nominated program is judged on its own merits and not against other applications.

“The Achievement Awards demonstrate excellence in county government and the commitment to serve our residents every day,” said NACo President Denise Winfrey. “This year’s winners represent some of the most innovative and collaborative efforts we have seen in more than 50 years of presenting these awards.”

“In the spring of 2022, Topsail Beach Mayor Steve Smith shared Beach Clean at a conference with a host of other coastal communities,” said Proctor. “The response was overwhelming. I knew then we had a good program.”

The Beach Clean program urges residents and visitors to “Leave No Trace.” They are encouraged to use trash containers, don’t bring glass to the beach, pick up after pets, fill in the holes dug on the beach, and reduce the use of plastics. The program discourages the use of plastic bags on the beach or on waterways. It also discourages the release of balloons on the beach.

“Plastics floating in water look like food to our sea turtles and other animals,” said Proctor. “Regardless if we are residents or visitors, we are all caretakers of our environment.”

For more information about Beach Clean, visit or

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