Memorial Day weekend is typically the kickoff of summer fun on the beach. With all the activity comes more litter and debris, which can find its way to the ocean without help from a volunteer cleanup.
In response to heavy use of Amelia Island beaches during the week and weekend leading up to Memorial Day, Keep Nassau Beautiful (KNB) in Florida hosted a beach cleanup event called “Picking Up Paradise.” Jules Ruppel, program manager for KNB, contacted other environmental groups and partners, including 8 Flags Jeep Club, BEACH JUNKI, Amelia Island Beach & Marine Life Conservancy, 4SEA CHANGE, Friends of Amelia Island, and Redbones Dog Bakery & Boutique, to assist as site captains.
Ruppel made a change in KNB’s annual event, coordinating the event as an evening cleanup beginning at 6:30 pm on Memorial Day. The change in timing was to ensure the overnight high tide did not result in most of the litter being swept out to sea before an early morning cleanup by contracted beach cleaning service.
More than 50 volunteers braved the drizzling rain to clean more than 245 lbs. of litter and debris from the shoreline, parking lots, beach parks, and a high-traffic boat launch area. Physical distancing and Keep America Beautiful guidelines for use of supplies, masks, and gloves were followed by participants.
“We love our community and the volunteer spirit to unite in keeping litter and debris out of our ocean, keeping Amelia Island beautiful for wildlife, residents, and visitors,” said Ruppel.