On April 17 and April 24, 2021, volunteers ventured out to various PBC Parks and removed pounds of litter and recyclables in celebration of Earth Day and the Great American Cleanup initiative. The goal of the Annual Great American Cleanup is to influence individuals to participate in environmental stewardship actions for their local environment while spreading awareness around their local community. With help from Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc., PBC Parks’ Adopt-A-Park partners hosted 13 cleanups from Jupiter Beach Park down to South Inlet Park to participate in the nationwide event.
Depending on which cleanup event they attended, volunteers participated in cleanups by walking on land, paddling on water, or diving underwater to collect litter and debris from PBC parks while simultaneously bringing awareness to pollution and recycling as well as inspiring others to make a difference in the community and environment. Litter and debris most commonly found was glass and aluminum cans/bottles, cigarette butts and an increase in discarded face masks.
Not all was negative reporting though. In fact, one of our Adopt-A-Park partners, Lake Osborne Estates, commented on the excellent job our parks operation staff are doing at keeping our parks clean and attractive for all to enjoy.
Carlos Serrano said, “The clean up went well, and the Parks Department should be commended for the great job it has been doing maintaining the area of John Prince Park along Lake Osborne Drive (we covered from Lantana Road to 12th Avenue South). The grass and landscaping has been well maintained, and we noticed a huge decrease in the amount of bottles, cans, and plastic containers collected this time around. Also noted some newly planted trees along the path in the vicinity of McMillen Island. Please share the neighborhood’s appreciation to Parks for providing such a fantastic recreational resource to our community!”
Daggerwing Nature Center and Okeeheelee Nature Center participated in the Earth Day and Great American Cleanup celebrations as well. Daggerwing Nature Center started off their Earth Day event hosting a cleanup and Okeeheelee Nature Center partnered with our Adopt-A-Park partner, the National Honor Society at Inlet Grove High School.
Autumn Kioti Horne, Assistant Naturalist at Daggerwing Nature Center said, “I was inspired by the dedication of the volunteers who came out on a hot, sticky Florida morning to help clean up our beautiful wetland habitat. Most of them were totally new to our nature center, but were avid nature protectors and even knew their way around micro plastics! Do you know how difficult it is it pick up each tiny piece of a shredded plastic bag? They do, and they diligently braved the heat to get every last piece they could. Thank you Earth Warriors!”
Long time Adopt-A-Park partner, Boca Save Our Beaches, hosted a beach cleanup at South Inlet Park. Boca Save Our Beaches hosts various eco-events throughout the year. They also contribute to weekly water quality testing at South Inlet Park with Boca High environmental club supporting the Blue Water Task Force’s nationwide mission for clean water quality in recreational areas.
Thanks to our valued partners, Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. and the Beach Bucket Foundation for their continued support in helping to maintain the beauty of PBC Parks and providing supplies and volunteers to celebrate and take care of our natural environments. Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. coordinates the Great American Cleanup project in Palm Beach County with the help of the Solid Waste Authority. The Beach Bucket Foundation has installed self-guided cleanup stations at various public beach accesses throughout Palm Beach County and hosted a water cleanup around Peanut Island.
The Great American Cleanup brought 409 youth age to senior citizen volunteers to PBC Parks where 1,500 pounds of trash was collected and reported. These volunteers’ efforts exemplify the community’s dedication and desire to keep their favorite recreation and nature sanctuaries clean and pristine for years to come!
Special thanks to the following Adopt-A-Park partners who donated 1,241 hours of service:
-The Beach Bucket Foundation
-Boca Save Our Beaches
-Caloosa Cleanup Crew
-Lake Osborne Estates
-Loggerhead MarineLife Center
-Pratt & Whitney
-Pura Vida Divers
-National Honor Society at Inlet Grove High School
-Sea Turtle Adventures
-South Florida Spearfishing Club