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300 volunteers scoop up six tons of trash

The results are in, and when it comes to the International
Coastal Cleanup earlier this month throughout Franklin County, the East beat
the West.

Of course, it wasn’t exactly an All-Star game, the nearly
300 volunteers who took part in the Saturday, Sept. 18 event were doing it for
the good of the county, and not to score points or take home a trophy.

But there was no question the crews that picked up debris
and detritus from Alligator Harbor, Bald Point State Park and the John S.
Phipps Conservancy collected more than any of the other dozen or so groups that
handled the clean-up at spots throughout Lanark Village, Carrabelle, Dog
Island, Eastpoint, St. George Island and Apalachicola.

The 43-member crew at Bald Point State Park, under the
coordination of Wade Smith, collected an estimated 2,750 pounds of discarded
refuse while not far away, at the Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve. whose 27
volunteers were coordinated under the watchful eyes of Kristin Ebersol and Jonathan
Brucker, they collected about as much, 2,730 pounds of trash. And at the nearby
John S. Phipps Nature Conservancy Preserve on Alligator Point. under the coordination
of Mary Alda Balthrop, the more than two dozen volunteers there toted away 2,100
pounds of garbage.

“I’d like to give a shoutout to the FSU Biological Honors
Society Beta Beta Beta,” said Smith. “They have been coming to the clean-up
here for quite a few years and represented roughly half of our volunteers this
year. “

Les Campbell, also a longtime volunteer, was once again on hand with his Gheenoe skiff canoe, doing his pickup out at the new Leonard’s Landing site off Alligator Point.

Of course none of the other dozen locations were at all shabby in
their work, as volunteers collected nearly 400 bags of garbage, weighing a
total of close to six tons.

“We were lucky to get a break in the weather just long
enough to complete the cleanup, but I don’t think everyone turned in the data
forms so probably more than that was collected,” said Ada Long, longtime organizer
of Franklin County’s contribution to what is now the Ocean Conservancy’s 35th annual
International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest volunteer effort to help
protect oceans, lakes and rivers.

The Apalachicola Riverkeeper, along with the Franklin County
Departments of Parks and Recreation and Solid Waste and Recycling, co-sponsored
the day.

In descending order of the site coordinators’ estimates of
collected weight, were the Carrabelle Pavilion’s 800 pounds; the Eastpoint
downtown’s 700 pounds; Dog Island’s 541 pounds; downtown St. George Island’s 450
pounds; Apalachicola’s Abercrombie Landing’s 375 pounds; Eastpoint Millender
Park’s 345 pounds; Lanark Beach’s 325 pounds; Carrabelle Beach’s 215 pounds; Apalachicola’s
Battery Park’s 212 pounds; Little St. George Island’s 130 pounds; Dr. Julian
Bruce St. George Island State Park’s 100 pounds; the area in Eastpoint west of
Millender Park’s 50 pounds; and St. Teresa’s 40 pounds.

Of course, with St. Teresa having just one volunteer, Susan
Bulloch, 40 pounds is pretty good.

From stop signs to fire extinguishers,
and from kayak paddles to aquaculture baskets,
the volunteers reached for
the refuse and grabbed for the garbage that all too often is left abandoned on
the county’s waterways and shorelines.

 “We are proud of the
25 volunteers who met at the Carrabelle Pavilion , who amassed an amazing
collection of furniture, toilets, construction debris, food and drink
containers, old signs and marine debris,” said Tamara Allen, who coordinated the
site along with Mel Kelly and Lori Gilbertson.

“Because the tide was so high we were not able to get all
the trash along the water between the boat ramp and the condos along Marine
Street and some other key locations. We really missed Lesley Cox from our team;
hopefully we made her proud,” she said. “We were really impressed by Jessica
Nealy, a postal worker from Tallahassee, who was on a break between delivering
and picking up a truck of mail that morning and spent her time cleaning up
Carrabelle in a major way.”

Heidi Montgomery, coordinator of the downtown Eastpoint site,
said her crew was hampered by an inability to get to a lot of the trash piles
left from the homeless that live there across from the gas station.

“There are just huge piles of rotting and soggy food trash,
blankets, pillows, clothing, and drink containers,” she said, suggesting that regular
access to a Dumpster could help in keeping the area clean on an ongoing basis.

At Apalachicola’s Abercrombie Landing, also known as Pine
Log, some of the volunteers boated over to the Second Sandbar across the river
to clean that spot. “It was a wonderful morning and I think everyone had a good
time trash bashing together,” said Doug Alderson, with the Apalachicola

This year’s event was dedicated to the late Pete Ritch, a longtime
volunteer who never missed a Coastal Cleanup.

“It’s hard to imagine future cleanups without Pete, but each
will be a reminder of him,” said Long. 

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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