Conservationists of all ages fanned out around shorelines up-Island and down Saturday for the Vineyard Conservation Society’s 27th annual beach cleanup.

On a blustery, misty day, volunteers filled large bags with all manner of trash: bottle caps, plastic and soda cans.

Some found the beaches not as littered with winter debris as in years past.

“Years ago we filled dump trucks,” said Lani Goldthorpe, standing in the parking lot at the drawbridge in Vineyard Haven. “I don’t know if it’s the high tide, but it’s encouraging.”

At Eastville Beach, Paul Cotton had found a piece of green sea glass among the debris and kept it in his hand as he showed the contents of his trash bag. He has participated in the event for more than a decade.

“This is the best year for cigarette butts,” he said. “There are almost no cigarette butts at all this year.”

As the wind whipped off the water, he looked around and said he doesn’t limit his trash collection to Earth Day.

“It’s always good to pick stuff up,” he said.

At Lambert’s Cove beach in West Tisbury, Brian Giles sat on his truck bed passing out gloves and trash bags to volunteers. He and his wife Caroline have traveled to the Vineyard from their home in New Hampshire for a decade years to be involved.

“We take great joy in cleaning up the environment, especially on Earth Day,” he said.

He added that Islanders are so good at keeping the beaches clean that it’s getting harder each year to find trash to pickup.

“They did so much last year, they’re really having to scrounge for stuff,” he joked.

Scouring a bluff, Diane Holne uncovered a whiffle ball and tossed it down to her husband Brian on the shoreline. Mr. Holne said it was the pair’s first time participating, but not the last.

“The earth is under threat from so many directions, this is something we can do personally to help,” he said. “It brings the community together. It’s been great to see the kids out here.”

Nearby, the Thomson family roamed the shore and beach path, picking up remnants of plastic bottles and debris. On breaks, the kids hurled sand at each other and giggled.

“We wanted to contribute and take care of our beaches before the summer traffic comes,” said Josh Thompson.

Griffin Neago, seven, had a similar mission.

“To make it cleaner so you don’t have to swim in the trash,” he said.

At noontime when the cleanup ended, volunteers headed to the Sailing Camp Park in Oak Bluffs for a zero-waste lunch put on by VCS.

More pictures.