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.