Mother Nature cooperated for the beach clean-up sponsored by the Friends of Tigertail Beach on Saturday, April 13th. Over 40 people turned out to assist in picking up trash. Volunteers arrived at 8 AM to receive their trash bags, gloves and assignments. The areas to be picked up were: the parking lot, butterfly garden, the boardwalk areas, the playground and the beach along the lagoon in both directions. Sand Dollar Island was also scoured for trash.
Sand Dollar is not county property or City of Marco Island property. It is owned and controlled by the State of Florida. Many years ago the Friends of Tigertail Beach responded positively to Nicole Ryan from the Conservancy when they were asked if they would add Sand Dollar to their clean-ups.
The Friends of Tigertail Beach holds four annual beach clean-ups. Beach clean-ups are not new to this volunteer organization. They have been ongoing since 2000. This one was partnered with Collier County’s Keep Collier Beautiful Bay Day event. Boaters, whether by motor or paddle, took part in the clean-up throughout Collier County.
It even closely coincides with Earth Day which is April 24th. Collier County provides the supplies and the event t-shirts for volunteers.
Around 10 AM volunteers started returning to the kiosk area to deposit their trash and enjoy a bottle of water that was provided. Over 20 black bags of trash were collected. Also retrieved was a car tire along with a huge heavy piece of black plastic that had broken its web lashing. These two objectswere lugged back by Art Daggerstein, paddle boarder, and Dan Orfan. Art used his paddle board to look for trash in the whole lagoon area as well as walking the path on Sand Dollar area to the gulf. Art made two trips to pick up trash. The bags of trash collected by all the volunteers consisted of the usual cigarette butts, beer cans, and plastic bottles, articles of clothing, single shoes, or flip flops, straws, cups, and food wrappings.
Volunteering for the event was Girl Scout Troop #467 of Naples. Tracy Barnes is the leader of the troop. The girl scouts were accompanied by three adults.
The girls were so excited to be involved. Friends of Tigertail provides each scout with a certificate stating that she participated in the community event. Also participating were FGCU students, Marco Island Academy as well as students from the Marco Island Charter Middle School.
Many beach walkers who had not signed up for the event joined and were eager to assist by picking up trash while enjoying the beach. One woman came and took a bag saying that she had to meet her husband who was fishing in the lagoon. She was later seen across the lagoon picking up trash while her husband was enjoying his fishing.
The cleanups accomplish two things: they help spread the word that the beaches need to be kept clean and give people the opportunity to freely participate in a worthwhile self satisfying effort. To find out more about the Friends of Tigertail Beach visit the web site at www.friendsoftigertail.com