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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Pop Stansell Park, Palm Harbor, Florida, USA

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Pop Stansell Park, Palm Harbor, Florida, USA
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Registered: December 2007
City/Town/Province: Clearwater
Posts: 1
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People from all over the world congregate at Florida’s pristine beaches and open sea to relax and absorb all of nature’s beauty. Unfortunately, what most people choose to ignore is the amount of litter that piles onto the “spoil islands” surrounding public beaches and accesses to the ocean. The term spoil island seems appropriate due to the amount of litter that gets intertwined into the mangroves and shorelines, but is never really picked up because reaching access to them requires a boat or kayak. These spoiled islands are home to a diverse amount of Florida’s natural wildlife. Omnipotent birds such as osprey, egrets, seagulls, and pelicans occupy the treetops and soar across the sky. These local birds use the spoil islands as nesting sites, but the islands are inundated with copious amounts of garbage. This is why my friend and I decided to venture out this windy morning and conquer some of the debris hoping to help these beautiful creatures maintain their homes.
As we paddled up to numerous islands, the same recurrent trash appeared. The shorelines and mangroves dotted with the same items: beer bottles and cans, soda cans, Styrofoam buoys, plastic bags (which are notorious for killing sea turtles because they appear as jellyfish when floating through the water and once the turtle swallows the bag it gets stuck in their throats, eventually killing them), flip-flops, bottled chemicals (such as anti-freeze and bleach), crab traps, the list goes on.
I asked my Dad how all the trash got there besides the obvious littering off beaches and boats, thinking that landfills might have an impact. He informed me that all the trash we encountered had been litter, no landfills had an affect on the amount of trash, just careless people. It astounded me. People really could do all of this damage? It just reaffirms how important it is to teach people how damaging litter can be, not only is it an eyesore, but more importantly, it seriously harms the environment of the little wildlife we have left.
After breaking a sweat and stuffing our kayaks full of our findings, we headed to the recycling center on the way home. Most of the trash we found could be recycled (the beer bottles, etc.) and the rest we threw out. This experience has really helped me to realize what a powerful example I can be. As we were picking up trash, many boaters slowed down and watched, what were they thinking? I am not really sure, but maybe they thought of how they should do their part and take pride in the beautiful land nature has provided for us.
· Date: December 30, 2007 · Views: 6387 · File size: 33.4kb, 396.2kb · : 1500 x 1125 ·
Hours Volunteered: 9
Volunteers: 2
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 18
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 1
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): 50
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