HOLIDAY — Picking up a piece of trash on the sidewalk and disposing of it properly is a good deed that almost everyone has done. But for some people, picking up one piece of litter isn’t enough.
Last Saturday, Pasco County volunteers took part in the Great American Cleanup. The cleanup started at the Pasco Palms Preserve and Eagle Point Park, along Trouble Creek Road, and stretched for 2.75 miles, covering all of Strauber Memorial Highway.
Fifty-five volunteers of all ages came to help clean up the roads and “Keep America Beautiful”, the organization that began the countrywide initiative, as well as the motto for the event.
Some volunteers came the Boy Scouts and J.W. Mitchell and River Ridge high schools, among many other organizations.
Katie MacMillen, a biological technician, has conducted several cleanups in the past. She thinks it has benefits to everyone in the community, including plants and animals.
“We ask volunteers to come out and help our natural lands and our community.” MacMillen said. “We want to have things both better for the people and better for the wildlife.”
The nationwide project began in 1999 through Keep America Beautiful. More than 20,000 communities across America have taken part.
On the third Saturday of April, teams spread out across Pasco to pick up litter from both roadsides and small bodies of water.
The volunteers at Eagle Point Park cleaned up salt flats, mangroves, and lagoon edges at Pasco Palms Preserve and along Strauber Memorial Highway.
Members of River Ridge High School’s SPLASH club did their part. SPLASH stands for Students Protecting Land and Sea Habitats.
Reagan Seacrest, a River Ridge junior, said she was happy to be involved in her first cleanup because it opened her eyes to how vital a clean environment is for the community.
“It’s important to protect for the future.” Seacrest commented.
Christina Esposito, the Pasco County environmental lands program coordinator, said workers and volunteers appreciated gratitude from drivers passing by the sites. “People stopped to say thanks,” said Esposito.