This morning, I answered a Facebook plea for volunteers to help clean up a nearby island. I tend to pitch in when I can but I’ll be honest, the added enticement of a boat ride made me even more eager.
Both Tampa Bay Aquatic Preserves and Keep Pinellas Beautiful teamed up to host this event. I was familiar with KPB’s work but it was my first time learning about TBAP (they are mainly in charge of submerged areas but in some cases of high priority, they manage islands, too).
Our worksite was a three-acre island with the incredibly romantic name of BC 21 (Boca Ciega Bay, near marker 21). Our job, removing flotsam and jetsam, was made a bit easier since a crew had already cleared out invasive trees, like Brazilian Pepper and Australian Pine.
We collected over 1,000 pounds of trash in just a few hours, clearing the entire western side of the island. The debris on the eastern side of the island will have to wait for another day. Fittingly, for the upcoming holiday weekend, I found some stars and stripes related items.
Once the rainy season starts (hopefully soon), TBAP will be back out to plant native species, restoring the tree canopy for migrating birds and other animals. Speaking of wildlife, we crossed paths with a couple Marsh Rabbits and a shy snake in the mangroves while out in the shallows, a young dolphin was learning to fish from its mom.
Not a bad way to spend a morning!