On Sunday August 23 CJ’s on the Bay was closed. But that didn’t mean owners and employees took the day off.
For the fifth year in a row, Curt and Jacquie Koon closed their restaurant for the day, so that employees and their families could volunteer with the Beach Advisory Committee’s (BAC) beach clean-up. Following the hard work, Curt and Jacquie take all employees and family members who volunteered to lunch.
“Last year 62 employees and family members came out to cleanthe beach” Curt tells us. Curt and his crew started at South Beach, while Jacquie and her crew started at Tigertail Beach. Each group cleaned the beach as they walked, until the two groups met ‘in the middle’ at the Marriott.
In addition to the sixty-plus CJ’s volunteers, many members of the community pitched in.
Volunteers worked from 9-10 AM in the scorching heat, picking up garbage carelessly left by beach-goers.
Ruth McCann, BAC Committee Chair, andexecutive director of the Marco Island Civic Association (MICA), told us that from talking to MICA members she “knows how important the beach is” to islanders. Last year a poster entitled “The Impact of Trash on our Beaches” was put together by the BAC to educate the public. Ruth has been busy trying to “spread the word” by distributing the poster to beachfront hotels and condominiums. The poster, along with beach tips, can be found on the city’s website at www.cityofmarcoisland.com.
Although thebeach is raked and groomed weekly by the county, Ruth tells us that the beach clean-ups are essential for picking up the things that they miss. Volunteers cleaning the beach find objects as small as straws and cigarette butts, and as large as tires and lumber.
BAC committee member Maria Lamb told us that most of the garbage is found near the trash cans. Even the smallest piece of trash has an impact on wildlife. She found many juice box straws and strawwrappers- small clear bits of plastic which are hard to see on the beach. Despite their size, Maria tells us that these items cause much damage to little birds who may eat them, but “cannot digest the plastic.”
Hopefully other local businesses will follow CJ’s example. For more information on having your business sponsor a beach clean-up event, contact Samantha Malloy, City of Marco Island Community Events Coordinator, at 239-389-3917 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For a schedule of the beach clean-ups go to the City of Marco Island’s website at www.cityofmarcoisland.com.