Monday, September 19, 2011

Cedar Key Coastal Clean Up 2011

Meanwhile ... deep in the mangroves ...
When I showed up at the Coastal Clean Up staging area, early Saturday morning, I was given the "Back Bayou" as my target zone. This is a quiet marshy lagoon behind the school where I work.

Armed with a few extra tough garbage bags an enthusiasm for anything marshy and eco-friendly, I headed into the mangroves.

There were all kinds of trashy things under the mangrove canopy ... from left to right:
cans, old bottles, old shoe liner, old basura blanco.

There were weird things too ... things that gave me the willies ... like this big-eyed mudstronsity.

I grabbed ALOT of trash for a solo picker. There were way more glass bottles and shards than I expected. Some of the soft drink glass bottles were dated by designs I had not seen in a while. That told me that this area of black mangroves and gooey knee sucking marsh mud had not been cleaned in a long time  ... if ever.

It was hard going with soft mud and long slogs out and back again with black bags of glass and cans, pressure treated boards full of 16 penny nails, and metal pipes.

This is my "haul".
  • Three garbage bags with mostly glass and metal containers
  • One chair and one boat seat.
  • A 10 foot steel pipe full of mud ... ugh, heavy.
  • Rubber hose
  • Two 5 gallon buckets which I used to carry more bottles and cans.
  • 3 big pieces of pressure treated lumber and some tarp ... probably some kid's hut years ago. It was semi-attached to an oak that leaned out over the marsh.
  • A rusty step ladder
I guess that's it ... There was more, but time was up at 12 noon and to be honest, I was needing a water break after hours of mud slogging and bush whacking.

Back at Clean Up HQ, dedicated volunteers sorted, counted, and classified all the trash. This is an international effort and the recording volunteer is using a standard data collection form to record trash data.

This dumpster was full of all kinds of garbage, from old clam farm bags to lumber. Recyclables went off to be "renewed" of course.

Let's hope they bury this scary thing deep in the landfill.

All in all it was a great morning. We've had a little bit of fallish (by FL standards) weather and what could have been a hot, gnat infested, torture session was just a lot of hard, dirty work under low humidity conditions ... (by FL standards).

I can't wait to read the trashy totals for the whole day. I did hear that the SWAT kids (Students Working Against Tobacco) picked up over 4000 cigarette butts.
I seem to have picked up enough trash to qualify for a prize, although I never heard if it was categorized by first, second, or third place.

I just know at one point, the organizers said,"Congratulations!", gave me a big bag of Hershey's candy, and had me stand with two other Coastal Cleaners for a picture.

I haven't seen the picture yet, but I know I was covered in dried marsh mud from head to toe, so I may be incognito anyway.

It was great fun and super exercise, plus, the beautiful marshes of Cedar Key are a little cleaner than they were before the Coastal Clean Up.

I'm definitely coming back next year.

We didn't get it all.


lisa said...

It is a shame that people can't keep their garbage picked up or should I say contained!

Dani said...

You did good!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Way to go. I hope those "eyes" don't haunt you. I hope they don't turn up in your marsh next year. oooOOOOooo.

Dani said...

Yeah, those eyes are CREEPY.

Kaybe said...

They let the kayakers loose on the mangroves here in Charlotte County. They couldn't haul everything it was so much. I'm concerned at the amount of broken glass that is washing up on the SWFL beaches. It is not the antique sea glass - it is budweiser & micholob bottles. Hopefully, every coastal clean-up builds awareness.

threecollie said...

Hooray for FC, great job! But I think it was just a teddy bear. lol

Julie Zickefoose said...

My hero!!
Hard not to get discouraged when you realize just how much is out there. Today I was picking up paw paws in a roadside ditch on one of my favorite country roads and kept tripping on bottles. My gosh! there were so many beer bottles in that ditch, it staggers the mind.
Nice job on the creepy bear. Eeeew. You coulda washed him up and repurposed him, you know. Sent him to someone...