The 37th International Coastal Cleanup is right around the corner! On Saturday, September 17, people from all walks of life come out to play a role in this global effort to remove debris from beaches and waterways. Come join us!
Registrants that have registered by the 8/31 deadline will have get theirs first and anyone else can get any that are left at the site or come to Woolley Park to enjoy lunch, drawings, and see if we have shirts left there. Volunteers must be present to redeem shirts.
Lunch at Woolley Park will begin serving around 11:00 am. We will have some local entertainment. We will have drawings to include a 50/50 drawing and other prizes.
On Saturday, May 14, a group of about 20 volunteers met at the Mashes Sands Beach in Panacea. Please note all of the volunteers did not stay to be part of the group photo. Pictured are (L-R) Ralph Thomas, Steve Cushman, Gary Deibler, Paul Parker, Jim Cook, Lesley Cushman, June Davis, Marc Dickieson, Brandy King, and Mike King. We were joined by a couple of camera shy workers from the Wakulla Road & Bridge Department led by Mike King. We were also joined by County Administrator, David Edwards and his son Alex coming out to show support for their County.
In the images you will see a couple before images of the beach. There were remnants of asphalt as a reminder of Hurricane Michael. A citizen had made the issue known and KWCB decided to do something about it. The Road & Bridge Department supplied a dumpster for the collection of the asphalt. The volunteers managed to gather 10,340 pounds of asphalt in 2.5 hours. The volunteers worked on the beach and into the water gathering the broken up remnants of the previous parking area. It was left in a much better state than it was at the start.
On Saturday, February 27 Keep Wakulla County Beautiful along with the US Forest Service hosted the Apalachicola National Forest Cleanup. This event kicks off the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup for KWCB. 85 volunteers from USFS, KWCB, Wakulla County residents, and surrounding areas came out to assist in getting our beautiful forest lands clean. We had a large group of students from Florida State University that joined us this year as well as a group from our own Wakulla High School.
There were 11 sites that had been identified as having an excessive amount of litter or being used for illegal dumping. Items removed from the forest included appliances, shingles, 15 tires, pool frames & liners, mattresses, and boats- yes, BOATS. These items are in addition to the normal litter that is found of shell casings, bottles, cans, plastic, and styrofoam containers. In total approximately 12,052 pounds of litter were removed from our forest. Tashunda Williams, Recreation Program Manager for the US Forest Service, states “we are so thankful for everyone that participates to help us get the forest cleaned up”.
Of the 573,521 acres of Apalachicola National Forest, over 172,000 acres of this forest lies within Wakulla County. Wildlife that can be found in our forest includes Florida black bears, whitetail deer, fox squirrels, coyotes, alligators, and snakes, as well as protected, threatened, and sensitive species such as the American bald eagle, gopher tortoise, striped newt, and Flatwoods salamander. Did you know that The Apalachicola National Forest has the world’s biggest population of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers; broad white bands painted around the trunks of longleaf pine trees indicate nest clusters. “We are so fortunate to have the beauty of the forest and it’s wildlife right here and accessible to us” said Tammie Nason, Director of Keep Wakulla County Beautiful “it is such a shame that not everyone respects our fragile environment”.
Litter in our forests can pose risks to wildlife and environment in several ways. Toxins from accumulated litter can leak into the soil and eventually into the water. These toxins can be ingested by wildlife in the forest as well as some items that may cause injuries. Excessive litter can also affect the amount of light reaching the soil. This can cause an increase in herbivorous insects and decrease the growth of seedlings and other plant life. Litter tends to be flammable increasing the risk of fire hazards.
If you see any litter sites or dumping in the forest, please reach out to the Wakulla Ranger District at (850)926-3561. A thank you goes out to Wakulla County for supporting our events, WastePro for the donation of the dumpsters used for these large cleanup events, and our volunteers. We could not do this without them.