Hundreds of middle and high school students from across the state will be converging on Asbury Park today and Friday to collect and document beach litter, as well as learn about environmental stewardship.

Flickr User Ingrid Taylor

It's part of the fifth annual New Jersey Clean Communities Council Environmental Student Exchange. Council Executive Director Sandy Huber says the affects of Superstorm Sandy provides an opportunity for students to examine the impact of a natural disaster on the environment.

"We're gonna actually take students to the end of Asbury Park that was damaged, so they can see exactly what happened there. Friday morning, there actually will be an opportunity for some dune grass planting."

Huber says the goal of the program is to get young people thinking in real terms about the environment and what they can do to help. She says student's who live no where near the beach can learn the global negative impact that litter in their very neighborhoods can have.

"One of the biggest things is that litter travels. It doesn't just stay in one place. So litter on the street can end up on the beach, or in the river, lake or stream and ultimately end up in the ocean."

According to the Council's press release, the 2013 participants include students from Old Bridge (Middlesex County), Monroe Township (Gloucester County), East Orange (Essex County), Newark (Essex County), Bayonne (Hudson County), Hackensack (Bergen County), and Passaic (Passaic County).

However, Huber says that's only because of their ability to bus them. She says students from any part of the state can participate as long as they have space.

NJCCC officials say students will not only be picking up litter from the Asbury Park shoreline, but on beaches in Berkeley and Carteret as well. Afterward, there will be a luncheon at the Berkeley Oceanside Hotel in Asbury Park where they will discuss the items found and receive awards for the most interesting stuff.

The NJCCC is a volunteer organization run by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. They host several environmental cleanup programs a year that focus on the impact of local and global pollution.