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Date of Issue: April 22, 2009

Volunteers clear litter from AMI

Divers Paul Banning, T. Rex and Wayne Grazzini head into the Gulf.
The Anna Maria Island Privateers regularly remove litter from Marina Drive in Holmes Beach. On April 18, their cleanup coincided with the Great American Cleanup. Pictured are Jeanette Mika, left, Claude Mika, Cindy "Bubbles" Shealy and "Big John" Swagger.

Keep Manatee Beautiful ran a clean campaign.

The organization, along with other groups, sponsoring companies and a legion of volunteers, hit roads, bridges, beaches and parks April 18 in the Great American Cleanup.

The local effort was part of a nationwide campaign that takes place every spring.

This year’s cleanup fell several days before Earth Day and promoted the slogan “Green Starts Here.”

“Here in Manatee Countyand across the nation, the 2009 Great American Cleanup is reminding families that a better environment for us all starts in our own communities, and the work we do in our own backyards and towns affects our entire planet,” said KMB executive director Ingrid McClellan. “Our volunteers are joining millions of others across the country to rid our streets, waterways and public spaces of litter and illegal dumpsites.”

By the time the Great American Cleanup concludes May 31, an estimated 3 million volunteers will have taken part in the effort, according to McClellan.

Manatee County’s volunteer number April 18 was expected to exceed 1,000.

The amount of trash and recyclables collected this year is not yet known, but last year county volunteers collected 123,672 pounds of trash and 5,396 pounds of recyclables. They also cleaned 162 miles of roads and highways and 233 miles of shoreline.

Volunteers on Anna Maria Island focused on the shorelines after registering for job assignments at Anna Maria City Hall, Birdie Tebbetts Field in Holmes Beach and Coquina and Cortez beaches in Bradenton Beach.

“I came out because I want to do something good,” said Jon Howard, 8, of Bradenton. “I really like the beach.”

Alice Ulanch of Anna Maria said she volunteered this year and in the past because, “I want to live in a clean place.”

Eddie Taylor Jr., who cleaned up Cortez Beach, said, “My mother-in-law asked us to clean up.”

Brooke Capparelli, 8, also cleaned up Cortez Beach, because “People leave trash on the beach,” she said. “That’s not nice. Animals could die from it.”

Volunteers in Bradenton Beach also included a dive team that came together at Sea Trek dive shop and then went into the Gulf to remove debris from the Shipwreck Regina.

Just off the Island, cleanup crews also hauled trash from the Cortez FISH Preserve in Cortez and along the Palma Sola Causeway in Bradenton.

“It’s a shame that there’s so much trash to pick up, but isn’t it wonderful that we get together for this cleanup?” said volunteer Alec White of Perico Island.


Volunteers to clean LBK preserve

Volunteers with Sarasota Bay Watch, Save Our Sea Birds, the Audubon Coastal Islands Sanctuaries, the Longboat Key Club, the town of Longboat Key and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program will clean up Quick Point Nature Preserve from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 2.

Registration will take place at 8 a.m. at the Longboat Key Club Moorings. The event will be followed by lunch at the Portofino Ristorante and Bar at the Longboat Key Club Moorings.

For more information, call Bill Johnson at 941-383-4217.