It was pretty rewarding to survey the area we had cleaned afterward and see it trash-free.
I always like to see the types of people who come out for cleanups. It was refreshing to see that one volunteer, Shaun Caruthers, brought his two daughters, Bailey and Georgia, to participate in the cleanup. What better way to teach your children about taking care of the environment than leading by example? As you can see by the pictures, little Georgia really got into the cleanup. She is muddy because she kept getting out of the canoe to pick up trash along the riverbank.
Heather Allerheiligen and Valerie Lebeau, who live in Winter Haven, volunteered even though they didn't have a canoe or kayak. Heather's e-mail to me expressing her interest in participating said this: "We do not have a boat to contribute but will be willing to help along the banks or onshore, which ever place you need us most. Please let me know if there is anything we can bring or do to help YOU out."
She meant it, too. These two young women picked up every piece of trash they could reach along the banks and in the parking area at the canoe launch. They stacked the filled bags of trash that we collected. They signed in volunteers who showed up after we hit the river. They kept a tally of everything we collected. The event simply wouldn't have run as smoothly as it did if not for them.
Everyone had a great time and indicated an interest in participating in Keep Polk County Beautiful's next Peace River cleanup scheduled for June. KPCB will provide kayaks and canoes for this cleanup, but volunteers who have their own always are encouraged to bring them. That way, we can accommodate more volunteers who want to help, but don't have a kayak or canoe.
I'll share more information on the June cleanup as I get it. Until then, please remember to do your part to keep Polk County beautiful by:
- Not littering
- Not throwing cigarette butts out your vehicle window
- If you see a piece of trash on the ground, pick it up
- Recycle what you can
- Become a KPCB volunteer
For more information on getting involved with Keep Polk County Beautiful, visit the organization's Web site or call 676-7019