On Saturday, September 19 Keep Wakulla County Beautiful participated in the 35Th Annual International Coastal Cleanup. Despite the COVID pandemic we had 309 volunteers that came out and participated. Volunteers were given KWCB gaiters, a snack, and of course the popular event shirts.
Different from past cleanups, we did not have an event at Woolley Park in order to keep our gatherings small. The cleanup sites were located Mashes Sands, Woolley Park, Bottoms Road, Shell Point, Spring Creek, Wakulla Beach, St. Marks at San Marcos de Apalache, St. Marks Lighthouse, Wakulla Springs, TnT Hideaway and Cherokee Sink.
The cleanup yielded approximately 5.2 tons of trash including everything from the usual cigarette litter and single use plastics to Appliances and furniture. Some of the more unusual items gathered were box springs (3 of them), vehicle bumpers (2 of them), a recliner, a water dispenser, and a ceiling fan. Trash was removed from shorelines, wooded areas, and in the water.
Thanks to Dr. Gabrielle Gabrielli, this year we had divers in the St. Marks River near Riverside Café. The conditions were not ideal and it was not as productive as we had hoped. The storms and rain had the water very dark and the current rather strong. We hope to include this location in our River Cleanup in December and expect to yield much better results.
We were honored to have a few of our county leaders participate this year. Commissioner Quincee Messersmith acted as a site captain for Spring Creek site. Commissioner Chuck Hess came out to participate and help clean at the lighthouse. County Administrator David Edwards and his wife, Sopchoppy Mayor Laura Edwards, along with their family had a group that participated at Wakulla Beach. In addition to these county representatives we had groups from local churches, Boy Scout troops, Operation Santa, TCC, and the Wakulla Road & Bridge Department.
We are very thankful at Keep Wakulla County Beautiful for our wonderful sponsors, KWCB board members and volunteers. The 2020 KWCB board members are President Steve Cushman, President Elect Erica Morse, Secretary Ethel Jefferson, Treasurer Marc Dickieson, Lesley Cushman, Joe Morgan, Greg James, Brandy King, and Jim Davis. These members, sponsors and volunteers are the people that make these events possible and successful.
What a crazy year 2020 has been! We were not certain that the Coastal Cleanup would be held this year, We will be holding our cleanup but it will be a bit different this year. Due to the pandemic, our beaches and boat ramps have seen an increase in the number of visitors this year. With more visitors comes more trash unfortunately.
In order to allow for social distancing and the small group reccomendations, all participants will report directly to the sites where they will be cleaning. This is the reason for our registration requirement this year. We will distribute shirts and snack at these sites instead of our normal festivities at Woolley Park. At the sites there will be gaiters for face coverings (or bring your own mask if preferred), gloves, hand sanitizer, and a limited supply of pickers.
Our ever popular shirts will distributed when your cleanup information and trash is turned in. Because we will need to have shirts at the locations, we are requesting that you indicate shirt sizes on the registration form. Shirts will onlybe given to participants present at the event.
We will have a trucks and trailers collecting the trash from each site. We are working closely with the Ocean Conservancy team to ensure that our cleanup is as safe as we can make it for all of our participants. There is a link on the registration form to access the COVID-19 waiver that will be needed from each participant and signed by an adult for any minors.
We are sure more information will be coming along and we will be reaching out to all registrants prior to the event. We look forward to taking a bite out of litter with you.
- 11/15/2020 America Recycles Day
- 12/5/2020 River Cleanup
- 2/27/2020 Forest Cleanup
- Awaiting new date for Household Hazardous Waste Day
On Saturday, Feb. 29, Keep Wakulla County Beautiful was joined by 92 volunteers and community leaders in their effort to clean the national forest. The Seas to Trees Apalachicola National Forest is an annual event held with help from the U.S. Forest Service and kicks off the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup for our local affiliate. The Great American Cleanup is Keep America Beautiful’s signature program. It is the nation’s largest community improvement initiative, which takes place annually in an estimated 20,000 communities nationwide engaging more than 5 million volunteers and participants, on average, every year to create a positive and lasting impact. At Keep Wakulla County Beautiful, we work to inspire people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment through programs like the Great American Cleanup. This initiative prompts individuals to take greater responsibility for their local environment by conducting grassroots community service projects that engage volunteers, local businesses, and civic leaders.
The Leaders Against Litter was tied into this year’s event. The purpose of his initiative is to raise awareness about how Florida’s pervasive litter problem affects communities by inviting community leaders to observe the problem first-hand by cleaning up a local site and educating participants about the direct and indirect costs and damage caused by litter. Local leaders attending included County Commissioner Quincee Messersmith who delivered our proclamation at the event, County Commissioner Chuck Hess, Sopchoppy Mayor Lara Edwards, and County Administrator David Edwards. Other volunteers consisted of several community members, USFS employees, representatives from Sen. Marco Rubio’s office, Verizon employees, FWC employees, and several of our local candidates running for office including Joe Morgan (KWCB President and candidate for Supervisor of Elections), Greg James (KWCB Board member and candidate for Clerk of Courts), Mike Kemp (candidate for Commissioner District 3), and Greg Diehl (candidate for Commissioner District 5).
Items gathered included many tires and rims, freezers, siding, furniture, mattresses, fencing, and more – along with the normal cans and bottles that are always collected. Our most unusual finds would be an old manual typewriter and check embosser. In total we collected near 6,000 pounds of debris from our forest. We do have to get the actual totals from WastePro once the dumpster is picked up and weighed.We appreciate all who have come out to assist in cleaning our community. It is a necessary evil unfortunately. As long as people do not dispose of trash responsibly, we will have the need for these cleanups. We are so fortunate in Wakulla County to have so many natural areas to enjoy and we strive to keep them in the best possible condition for our community and wildlife to enjoy. We intend to keep the forest cleanup and Leader’s event going annually and have it grow to cover even more areas in our forest. Leaders Against Litter Pledge for a Cleaner Tomorrow: “We all have an obligation to preserve and protect our beautiful state. Together, we can make a huge impact. I promise to support Keep Florida Beautiful and the local affiliates for a litter-free, more beautiful Florida.
I will … SPEAK UP and spread the word that litter is not acceptable in Florida. I will … PICK UP litter whenever I see it. I will … STAND UP and lead the way for a litter-free Florida.”