Nobody likes a litterbug, especially the Girl Scouts of Troop 2413.
They were among the Palm Coast residents headed out on Saturday morning for the 16th annual Intracoastal Waterway Cleanup to get things in tip-top shape after a busy summer along the Florida waterways.
The returning champions collected a whopping 1,100 pounds of trash between their group of a dozen troopers and took home both the honor for “Most Trash Collected by a Group” and Troop member Karolyn Whitney took home the prize for “Most Unique Item” with a concrete telephone marker used by Bell South in the old days of Palm Coast, with some of the prizes sponsored by Palm Coast trash hauler FCC.
“We do it because it is the Girl Scout way. We want to instill in our girls the values of having a clean environment, for not just us but the animals as well,” said Troop co-leader Jennifer Bickert, ready to feed the hungry troop.
“We are very proud.”
Announcing the winners including the “Most Individual Trash Collected” winners, Christopher and Sophia Harrison with 80 pounds, Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin mused on the history of Bell South for today’s younger telephone users.
Other unique past finds have included a gas mask and a breadmaking machine.
“Excited to have another successful annual Intracoastal Waterway Cleanup with families coming together, working together, outside in this beautiful landscape of Palm Coast to make it cleaner and better than anywhere else in the state of Florida,” said Alfin, clearly impressed by the Girl Scouts’ motivation.
“Unbelievable. They’re already looking forward to next year, they’re setting records, they’re looking for a three-peat but over a thousand pounds of trash collected. That’s unbelievable. But they did it with their parents, they did it with their friends, they did it in a collaborative way. What a wonderful learning experience for everybody.”
Overall participants gathered 1,881 pounds of trash from area parks and waterway access points, and Florida Inland Navigational District Commissioner Randy Stapleford was pleased with the day’s haul.
FIND, the organization responsible for overseeing more than 400 miles of Intracoastal Waterway along Florida’s eastern seaboard supports the annual cleanup with $5,000 in funding and has provided $80,000 over the past 16 years according to Stapleford.
“The Intracoastal Waterway is important to everyone. That’s the beauty of what we do here. It’s all part of what beautifies our beautiful state and beautiful county,” said Stapleford. “It gets the kids involved in what’s going on in the community, the importance of clean water, the importance of a clean area.”
Serving in her last year at the helm of the Intracoastal Waterway Cleanup, Jordan Myers, stormwater operations manager, has seen plenty in her six years as the project lead. Most rewarding has been seeing families return year after year to help cleanup and watching the children grow up with environmental stewardship as part of their foundation.
“I think what’s really cool in regards to the kids is we have Girl Scout and Boy Scout Troops that have been helping for so many years and you get to see the kids grow up and still participate in waterway cleanup, so you just see them, their love for the environment and they still keep coming back every year,” she said.
“It’s really nice to see that.”