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Keeping Our Beach Beautiful
This is just one example of the trash removed from the beautiful sandy beach.

Keeping Our Beach Beautiful

By Nancy Richie

Katie O’Hare (Chamber of Commerce), Ralph Barnhart (City of Marco Island Beach Advisory Committee) and Bernardo Bezos (MICA) pose with the day’s haul of trash.

Katie O’Hare (Chamber of Commerce), Ralph Barnhart (City of Marco Island Beach Advisory Committee) and Bernardo Bezos (MICA) pose with the day’s haul of trash.

A beautiful morning unfolded for the last the beach clean-up, Sunday, May 18. Low humidity, mild temperatures, light breezes and blue skies prevailed. Paradise perfection — what we expect on Marco Island!

More than 50 people of all ages met at the South Beach boardwalk access to help clean up the beach. The large group included beach committee members, Marco Island Civic Association (MICA) members, Chamber of Commerce representatives, Publix employees, regular beach goers, residents who couldn’t resist the beach on this beautiful morning and visiting families. It was apparent the wonderful weather and the beauty of the beach gave the group energy; it was quite a boisterous group!

The city of Marco Island’s Beach Advisory Committee members organized this monthly clean-up and coordinated with local Publix Super Marco at Shops of Marco (Store #375 at 175 South Barfield Drive). Managers, employees, their families and friends all came out at 8 AM ready to enjoy a day in the sun and give back to the community. This Publix helps each month with donations of bottled water, bags and gloves; the manpower this month was exceptional.

Beach volunteers gather for the effort. PHOTOS BY NANCY J. RICHIE

Beach volunteers gather for the effort. PHOTOS BY NANCY J. RICHIE

It was organized chaos on the sunny beach. The Chamber of Commerce’s — and beach clean-up regular — Katie O’Hara rolled up with her cart of trash grabbers and reusable buckets available for anyone to use. This handy equipment was purchased by donation from Leadership Marco. Bernardo Bezos of MICA, and beach committee member George Schmidt pulled up in MICA’s beach vehicle to assist in trash collection and water bottle handouts for thirsty beach walkers. Beach Advisory Committee members handed out t-shirts donated by local businessman Bruce Gear. The group was ready to clean up the beach.

Lots of wind over the past couple weeks made trash collection in the dunes abundant. Plastic bottles, wrappers, dryer sheets (commonly used as mosquito repellent apparently), Styrofoam food containers, bottle caps and cigarette butts were found in large numbers. Fishing line, crab buoy line, zip ties and more cigarette butts were found in and around the Cape Marco jetties and shoreline. Stray flip flops, swimsuits, crab buoys and broken plastic toys were collected. Straws, straws and more straws are still being collected in our beautiful white sand near the hotels. With a sense of satisfaction, the participants collected all this and more.

Geologist Maddie Richie and Biologist Megan Joyce lend a scientific hand to the clean-up effort.

Geologist Maddie Richie and Biologist Megan Joyce lend a scientific hand to the clean-up effort.

The next city of Marco Island Beach Clean-Up is scheduled for Sunday, June 22, 8 AM, at the South Beach boardwalk access. Everyone is welcome to participate. If you, your group or business want to sponsor a clean-up, know a student who needs volunteer hours or need more information on the clean-ups, the beach or wildlife, please contact Nancy Richie, environmental specialist with the city of Marco Island at [email protected] or 239-389-5003.

Thank you for keeping our beach beautiful!


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