25 years ago, Karen Gray and other Jupiter Beach residents started Friends of Jupiter Beach (FJB). The founder being Anita Lankler and the executive director, Karen Gray have always had a passion for keeping their home clean and educating others about conservation and stewardship for the environment.
One of the main incentives for creating FJB, other than environmental benefits, is the agreement to delegate a portion of Jupiter Beach as a dog friendly beach, where dogs can roam free off-leash. This group has continuously maintained the beach’s cleanliness as well as enforcing the rules of the dog-friendly beach with pet owners. FJB has provided each beach access with a dispenser of pet waste bags and signs clearly conveying to cleanup after your pet.
From the effects of the pandemic in 2020, FJB had to cancel a few cleanups this year, but continued to perform these monthly cleanups in a safe and socially-distanced manner after restrictions let up. Karen does an incredible job organizing volunteer meetings at separate locations with no more than 10 volunteers at each access. Even with the restrictions, FJB still manages to safely host up to 100 volunteers dispersed through each cleanup. In 2020, this group has managed to clean up and document approximately 1,287 pounds of garbage and 879 pounds of recyclables from Ocean Cay Park and Jupiter Beach.
A huge thanks goes out to Karen and all the volunteers that participate in the monthly Friends of Jupiter Beach Cleanups hosted every first Saturday of the month.
On October 25, a dedicated group known as ‘The Clean-Up Kids’ participated in a beach cleanup on Ocean Ridge Hammock Park, where they filled up six trash bags! The total weight of trash collected was 90 pounds, and the total weight of recyclables collected was five lbs.
The Clean-Up Kids is a volunteer group started by young parent Kailley Catalo and her husband. They’re dedicated to teaching children lifelong lessons to ensure a clean future, including our collective impact on the planet.
“We believe it is never too early to start teaching & participating in bettering ourselves, the planet & our community. We are developing more creative ideas to help them give back to our community such as organizing park cleanups, feeding the homeless, book exchanges/donations, mini-marathon to raise awareness to different issues, adopt sea turtles, clean local fire trucks and more. We believe in community and that ‘it’s takes a village to raise a child’ so as parents it’s super valuable for us to teach them the power and hard work of giving back to the community.”
With more than 40 miles of shoreline and ideal beach weather year-round, it’s no wonder Palm Beach County beaches are popular destinations for residents and tourists. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous day on the waves, or a relaxing escape in the sun, there are so many ways to enjoy Palm Beach County beaches.
The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, recognized nationally for excellence in park and recreation management, operates more than 110 parks and recreational facilities and provides organized recreational programs and services for people of all ages and abilities. Visit http://www.pbcparks.com for more information.
The 2018 United States Lifesaving Association Southeast Regional Championships were held at Flagler Beach on July 26th and 27th. This competition was attended by 22 beach patrols from the Southeast Region with some of the best open water athletes in the nation.
This first place win was an important victory for the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department’s Ocean Rescue team (PBCOR). PBCOR is one of the largest beach patrols in the Southeast Region and strives to attract and retain full-time lifeguards of the highest caliber. Competing and placing first in a USLA Regional Competition helps attract top guards from around the nation to make their careers at Palm Beach County.
USLA Competitions are one of the only organized sports that directly promotes life saving. In winning the first place Southeast Regional title, PBCOR competitors did a fantastic job promoting and representing their public safety agency. In addition to their required training on duty, many of the guards trained hard off duty to win this event.
The competition consists of 10 individual events that include: surf swim, paddleboard, surf ski, singles surf boat, beach flags, iron guard, ironman/woman, American ironman/woman, run swim run, and 2K beach. There are six team events: doubles surf boat and paddleboard rescueand 4X100 run relay, line pull rescue, surf rescue, and taplin relay.
Lieutenant Chase Robertson was the highest overall point scorer for Palm Beach County and the second highest male point scorer for the entire competition with a total of 89.5 points. He competed and placed in 12 events and won first place in 9 events.
Jessica Ventura was the highest overall female point scorer for Palm Beach County with a total of 64 points and competed in a total of 18 events placing first in age group surf swim, board race, surf ski, international iron woman, run swim paddle and run swim run.
Tiffany Lacasse-Johnson was the second highest overall female point scorer for Palm Beach County with a total point score of 60.7 from a total of 20 events.
Senior Guard Lieutenant Phil Harris returned this year to compete in seven events. Highlights were winning first place in the age group run-swim-run, and 2nd place in surf swim, board race, 2k beach run, and beach flags. His daughter, Chase Harris, who swam for FIU and recently graduated proudly competed alongside her dad finishing 6th in the highly competitive open women’s swim.
Senior Guard and Training Officer Steve Kaes was there to compete and his guidance and help were invaluable to all the competitors before, during and after the event. For years he captained the Competition Team and our success this year was accomplished on the foundation Steve Kaes and other senior guards have built over the years.
Remember to swim near a lifeguard when you visit the beach. For more information, visit USLA.org.