A sunny, somewhat cool (relatively speaking for Floridians) Saturday morning in mid-October on Marco Island’s beach could not have been more perfect for a fall beach “sweep.” With clouds on the Gulf horizon, the fall sun, now slanted south of the equator moving toward the winter solstice, shed soft light across the beach. Another magical morning on Marco Island’s beach!
The City of Marco Island’s Beach Advisory Committee’s monthly beach clean-up partnership with the community brought out 45 volunteers of Marco Island Civic Association (MICA) members to the beach to “sweep” it clean. Diane Hoover, the Beach Advisory Committee’s beach clean-up coordinator worked closely with fellow Beach Advisory Committee member and MICA director, Ruth McCann, to plan this beach clean-up event.
Mrs. McCann had MICA members and volunteers started at both ends of the beautiful beach: at the South Beach boardwalk access and at the Tigertail Beach Park access. Participants were greeted at each site with a smile, a good morning and a big thanks for coming out by Charlette Roman, City Planning Board and MICA Board member, at Tigertail Beach Park and Diane Hoover at South Beach. Bottled water, trash bags and gloves, provided by Publix, were offered to all volunteers. Beach Advisory Committee members Ralph Barnhart, Tony Ferrara and Patti Miller, regular beach cleaners, assisted Mrs. Hoover and joined in again to help clean the beach.
Not surprising, past City Beach Advisory Committee members were also helping out – Alan Bristow and Bernardo Bezos. Both also MICA board members were ready to go at 8 AM. Mr. Bristow actually proposed the original “Beach Sweeping” program years ago, so he not only “talks the talk” but “walks the walk!”Mr. Bezos has not missed these monthly clean ups since they were organized two years ago. He is ever helpful on MICA’s beach vehicle picking up full trash bags for disposal, carrying water and supplies to deliver along the beach and carting a tired beach walker now and then.
Not only MICA members volunteered. A half dozen local folks showed up to clean their beach or just saw the beach clean-up sign Mrs. Hoover posted for the event and joined in before they relaxed for the rest of the day on the beach. One participant, Melissa Neil, came all the way from Tampa. Her friend she was visiting lives here and she saw the opportunity to help out locally. She is a nurse anesthesiologist that loves to give back to the community. Decked out in a pink breast cancer awareness shirt with a big smile and engaging personality, she was ready to sweep the beach – whatever was needed! A cancer survivor herself and advocate of cancer awareness, she happily removed cans, bottles, fishing lines and hooks from the jetties at Cape Marco.
Though the beach looks so beautiful, Mr. Bezos reported 30 bags of trash were removed as well as a stack of wood debris. The beach was effectively swept clean of cigarette butts, beer and water bottle caps and bottles, fishing line, plastic and Styrofoam pieces and food wrappers by 10:30 AM!
The City of Marco Island extends a big thank you to coordinator Diane Hoover and all the past and current Beach Advisory Committee members that participated, all the MICA volunteers, the residents and visitors that pitched in and Publix for the supplies for a successful morning of sweepingthe beach clean. A real community effort! Thank you!
The next beach clean-up is scheduled for Saturday, November 16, 2013, 8 AM at the South Beach boardwalk access. The Marco Island Women’s Club is sponsoring, but all public is welcome to participate.
The City’s Beach Advisory Committee would like to remind beach goers:
• KEEP IT CLEAN AND LEAVE NO TRACE – please remove all trash when leaving the beach and dispose of it properly, including fishing line and cigarette butts!
• NO GLASS, BOTTLES, CONTAINERS OR GLASSES, on the beach. Recycle them!
• DO NOT COLLECT ANY SHELL WITH A LIVE ORGANISM or animal life inside. Look inside and check. If unsure, leave it!
• NO DOGS, LEASHED OR UNLEASHED, are allowed on any Marco Island beach. Service dogs are allowed if properly licensed and in control on a leash by the owner.
• NO BICYCLES are allowed on any Marco Island beach.
• For public safety, PLEASE FILL IN ALL HOLES and knock down sand castles when leaving the beach.
• NO OPEN FIRES, grills, torches are allowed; this includes “sky lanterns” that are fire and wildlife hazards.
• KEEP YOUR FEET SAFE – PLEASE STAY OUT OF THE DUNES and vegetation – these areas protect our beach from erosion and provide wildlife habitat.
• SHARE THE BEACH WITH OUR WILDLIFE – many shorebirds flock on the beach. Please walk around groups of birds and please do not feed or disturb.
If you or a group or business you are affiliated with are interested in participating in a beach clean-up, please contact Nancy Richie, City of Marco Island Environmental Specialist at 239-389-5003 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All public can participate in the clean-ups; if volunteer hours are needed, please inquire. Get out and volunteer!