Friday, January 28, 2022

These beachcombers pick up more than shells…

Photo by Joe Giannone, Jr.

Photo by Joe Giannone, Jr.

By Joe Giannone, Jr.

Are you ready to plant a tree or clean a sandy beautiful beach on Earth Day? Earth Day is coming soon, on April 20th, and organizations from all around the country are taking part in a National cause to raise awareness about sustaining the environment and taking part in beach, bay, and various other environmental clean-ups.

On Saturday, April 11th, the local environmental group, Friends of Tigertail, had a beach clean-up on Tigertail beach on Marco Island. The Friends of Tigertail host beach clean-ups four times a year, and around this time, the national Bayday clean-up happens, which helps sustain the ecological complexity that is the Tigertail beach. Not only is Tigertail a beach, but it’s a bird habitat, a lagoon, and it’s a critical wildlife area on Marco, because of its very diverse ecosystem.

Keep America Beautiful is a National organization that works to get counties and cities all across the United States to clean up there beaches and Bay’s. Keep America Beautiful is also the organization that runs the national Bay Day beach cleanup. Keep Collier Beautiful is the group that takes care of the Beach-cleanups County wide, and Friends of Tigertail are the local group that takes care of the clean-up events locally.

The Friends of Tigertail was started in 1997, 13 years ago, by Betty & Bob Rosa, Jean Reiley, Nancy Sineni and the local Beach Ranger, Ms. Janet. When Bob and Betty Rosa moved to Marco, they saw in the newspaper that Ranger Janet was holding a beach clean-up on the Tigertail beach. The five people who started the Friends of Tigertail organization where in attendance that day, and they all decided to start this organization professionally, in order to raise awareness about this amazing ecosystem, and the wildlife that inhabits it.

The Friends of Tigertail have planted a tree in honor of Bob Rosa, at the entrance to the beach. There is also a bench at the front of the beach, in honor of another active member of the friends, Vince Locasio. A Butterfly garden has also been planted by the Friends of Tigertail, and they are instrumental in getting new plant signs, and a sign to direct people through the park, as well as an osprey nest. Last Saturday, the Friends of Tigertail, and the 40 other volunteers that came out to support the beach cleanup; collected seventeen, 30 gallon garbage bags of trash.

Nancy Richie, the local Environmental Specialist, informed me that some of the debris that was found on Saturday were towels, straws, cigarette butts, flip flops, candy wrappers, plastic grocery bags, a couple of bags filled with excrement, aluminum cans, glass bottles, clothing, brown paper towels, Tangled Fish netting, crab trap, large wood posts, ceramic shards, lots of paper and plastic bits from wrappers, clothing price tags, plastic bottle caps, dryer sheets, large potato chip bag, and napkins.

Debby Roddy, the president of the Friends of Tigertail says, “The turn out on Saturday was outstanding and, hopefully, more volunteers will attend these cleanups in the future.” The next cleanup that the Friends of Tigertail will be holding is on July 17th, 2010. There will also be an International Coastal Cleanup on September 18th, and another beach cleanup on December 9th, and all are welcome to come to these events.

Sustaining the environment is a very important thing. Ways of doing so are by attending these beach cleanups and doing your own part in the cause to save our environment. “One thing that I’ve learned is that the environment holds millions of creatures and plant life that work together simultaneously in there own niche’s, and all animals and all plant life hold a key role in the survival our ecosystems and the survival of our beaches.”

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