It was an unexpected chilly start to Saturday morning when we met at the Fort De Soto headquarters. But after we received our instructions for the cleanup, picked up our buckets and picker upper gadgets, we headed out to Shelter 1 and we warmed up pretty quickly as we began picking up trash.
We quickly set to work picking up trash around the shelters and some along the beach. Gavin, Jolene’s son, won the award for strangest item found. He excitedly proclaimed, “I found some underwear! I found some underwear!” (Remember we had gloves and picker upper tools.)
We spent almost three and a half hours picking up trash of all kinds.
Unintentionally we picked a good weekend for a cleanup, the weekend after Easter. Most, if not all of us, picked up several Easter eggs, some plastic and some real egg shells. Carol C. was the luckiest one, finding two quarters in one of the eggs. The brightness of Easter items made them easy to spot but picking up that Easter grass that people put in Easter baskets was not the funnest job. It was hard to pick up with the picker upper gadgets so that was almost the only thing we had to pick up by hand. We found many candy wrappers but one of the most common items found on the ground was plastic wraps from straws that had once been attached to juice boxes. Bottle caps were another common item, both plastic and metal. Most of those were from beer bottles. And lots of cigarette butts. A few toys, all plastic, were found as well: a small yellow shovel, a manatee and a frog.
All total, my guess is we filled up at least 15 five-gallon buckets with trash. On her own, Linda filled up six buckets. We had spread out around the area and she found a spot full of bags, bottles, Subway wrappers, cans and even one automotive foam.
As we loaded up our cars to head back to the headquarters and drop off the borrowed equipment, a family from Canada was unloading their bikes from their car parked next to us. They were excited to be there and said they visit Fort De Soto once a year. The man asked what we had been doing and we explained we had spent the morning picking up trash giving back to a park that we enjoy so much. He thanked us for doing that. That was a nice closure to our morning of work.
After all that work, a small group of us were hungry so we headed to Phila Deli in Tierra Verde for some Philly cheesesteaks. One person got a Reuben. We caught the owner at rush hour so it took a little while to get our sandwiches but I think everyone agreed it was worth the wait. We did a second cleanup for the morning, cleaning our plates. 🙂