The city of Cedar Key, in partnership with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Nature Coast Biological Station, is encouraging north-central Florida residents to volunteer Saturday in the 2022 International Coastal Cleanup — the world’s largest volunteer effort to clean up the marine environment.
The cleanup marks Cedar Key’s 16th year of contribution.
Organizers recommended volunteers bring their own gloves and check in at the Cedar Key Marina as early as 7:30 a.m. to pick up trash bags. Food and a free T-shirt will be provided, as supplies last. The cleanup will begin at 8 a.m. and wrap up around noon.
As of Thursday morning, 137 people registered to participate, Savanna Barry, the regional extension agent for UF/IFAS, said. Each year, between 100 and 200 people attend; registration is not required.
Last year, more than 140 volunteers braved the rain to remove nearly 2,500 pounds of trash, and more than 7,908 individual pieces of debris, from Cedar Key’s shorelines. 20 miles were covered.
Beyond simply picking up trash; volunteers gather important information about the types and sources of debris collected, which can educate the public and inform public policy in the future.
Barry is hopeful more good Samaritans will register ahead of Saturday.
“I would say it’s really a great feeling,” Barry said. “There’s not a lot of things that you can do in just a few hours and have that great of a sense of accomplishment at the end. It’s a great community effort.”