Fall is here and that means Keep Liberty Beautiful volunteers are gearing up for a variety of activities to promote cleaner, safer waterways and wetlands throughout Liberty County. This weekend, about 35 volunteers kicked off our annual Rivers Alive campaign with a beach cleanup on St. Catherines Island.
Each year, KLB sponsors a cleanup on this lovely barrier island to make sure that the beach areas most often used by the public are pristine. The most exciting part is that every time we return, we have to clean up less litter and debris. Just a few years ago, we hauled back a two-ton load of trash. Now we usually average a couple hundred pounds of litter. We credit the decline to the increasing number of St. Catherines visitors who now make a habit of picking up litter after they enjoy their beach trip. We also believe there has been a slight reduction in litter at the beach and in our local waterways.
This annual beach cleanup would not be possible without the help of local boaters who donate their time, boats and fuel to transport our volunteers to the island. We owe our thanks this year to Dave Sapp, Ron Lynch, Jess Waldrop, Kim McKinnon, Diane Horton, Jerry Beuhler and Lindsay Swida for their efforts to support this cleanup. Special thanks also go out to the dedicated volunteers who gave their Saturday to take care of this beach — and to enjoy a beautiful day on the water.
Rivers Alive in Liberty County is a part of the statewide Rivers Alive waterway cleanup effort and a part of the Ocean Conservancy’s international efforts to promote clean and healthy water. It also is registered as a “Make a Difference Day” activity. Our 2010 cleanup won a statewide Rivers Alive Award because of the outstanding efforts of our volunteers. This year’s main Rivers Alive cleanup event day is Saturday, Oct. 22. We expect to tackle more than 30 cleanup sites around Liberty County and we need your involvement to make that possible.
If you did not know, Liberty County is a coastal county full of wetlands, creeks, ponds and rivers. Despite a lot of national attention on toxic pollution and habitat restoration, litter and solid waste are a real — and disastrous — problem for our waterways. More than just unsightly, litter and debris (especially plastic and Styrofoam) create problems for fish and wildlife.
“Through ingestion, strangulation, entrapment and injury, marine debris kills and injures thousands of animals every year. Due to the long life of these types of products, litter and debris will continue to harm the environment until someone comes along to clean up the mess,” according to pugetsoundkeeper.org.
Unfortunately, we humans create litter. That means we humans need to clean it up. Cigarette butts, old tires, plastic six-pack rings, fishing line, fast-food containers — all of it harms the aquatic creatures that live in our waterways. Litter also spoils recreational areas that many of us would like to enjoy.
Our sixth annual Rivers Alive cleanup in Liberty County again is sponsored this year by SNF Chemtall, which graciously supports this event by paying for supplies and providing a fantastic post-cleanup cookout for our helpers at Riceboro Creek. Last year, 420 volunteers worked around the county to clean up 26 locations on the day of the main cleanup and during the week.
With the involvement of your business, your school, your organization, your neighbors or your church, we can target even more locations in our community that need a little tender loving care. If you would like more information or would like to register your group, call Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880-4888 or email email@example.com. By working together for just a few hours, we can make a tremendous difference where we live, but the magnitude of that difference is up to you. Make plans now to join us in October for this important cleanup.
This also is the last week KLB will accept nominations for our quarterly Win-dex Awards. We know how important an attractive and clean community is — that is what the Win-dex Awards are all about. Nominations are due by Sept. 30. The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, with Keep Liberty Beautiful, sponsors the Win-dex Awards program to honor businesses in our county that make an extra effort. Help us give these places the quarterly recognition they deserve.
Nomination forms are available at Keep Liberty Beautiful or at the local Liberty County Chamber of Commerce office. You can contact KLB at 880-4888 or the chamber at 368-4445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming KLB activities
• Friday, Sept. 30: Win-dex Awards nominations for attractive business of the quarter are due. For information, email email@example.com or call 880-4888.
• Saturday, Oct. 22: The sixth annual Rivers Alive cleanup in Liberty County. Volunteers are needed to work at more than 30 sites. For information, call 880-4888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.