Cleanups spruce up AMI, Cortez

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Volunteers gather in the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage Preserve in Cortez after collecting litter as part of a coastal cleanup coordinated by Keep Manatee Beautiful. Islander Photo: Courtesy Kris Martinez

More than 200 volunteers Oct. 6 collected 149 bags of litter on Anna Maria Island and Cortez.

In the annual coastal cleanup, Keep Manatee Beautiful collaborated countywide with community groups and schools, including Anna Maria Island Elementary, and cleared 2,980 pounds of garbage from the island, according to KMB executive director Jennifer Hoffman.

On the island and in Cortez, volunteers met at Anna Maria City Hall, Kingfish Boat Ramp, Coquina Beach and the Florida Institute for Saltwater Preserve before collecting 6,123 cigarette butts, 584 straws and other trash near the shorelines and streets, Hoffman said in a Oct. 11 text.

Red tide debris disposed of included two birds, 15 fish and 624 horseshoe crabs.

Hoffman also reported more than 700 people countywide, including 250 from the island, volunteered in the event, part of an international effort.

In a Facebook post, AMI Women of the Moose reported more than 100 volunteers helped collect litter on the global cleanup day.

Cortez chimed in with 19 friends, family and students from IMG Academy who picked up debris along Cortez Road, the village as well as the FISH Preserve.

The group picked up “lots of paper,” bottles, beer cans, tires, a tv, suit cases, plastic and Styrofoam cups, FISH member Kris Martinez wrote in an Oct. 9 email to The Islander.

“We didn’t have any boats in the water to do shoreline (cleanup) because we didn’t want people in there,” considering red tide in the area, she added. Past cleanups involved volunteers on fishing boats.

Other groups participating in the cleanup included Anna Maria City Hall, the Anna Maria Island Privateers, Edison Academics of Bradenton, Happy Paddler Kayak Tours and EcoVentures of Bradenton, the State College of Florida Earth Club, Southeast High School Seminole Pride, Woodlands Quality Pool Care of Anna Maria and the Surfrider Foundation, Suncoast Chapter.