Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Volunteers Turn out for St. Johns River Celebration

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Volunteers Turn out for St. Johns River Celebration

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, County Line staff writer

********* CORRECGTION March 30, 2002

Clay County's Earth Day celebration is April 20. Because of a reporter's error, the date was incorrect in stoy in the March 23 edition of The County Line.

***************

Every year, after the cleanup effort called the St. Johns River Celebration has concluded, organizers sort through the garbage that volunteers collected from the river and its tributaries and discover what they think is the oddest trash find yet.

This year was no exception.

In Clay County, the winner was a radar screen, like the ones used by meteorologists and traffic controllers, which was found in Black Creek near the Main Street boat ramp.

Just how that particular piece of waste will be disposed of remains to be seen, said Tania Jolley, Clay coordinator of Keep Florida Beautiful, which co-sponsors the cleanup. Jolley is checking with experts about what to do with the screen.

"Those things are loaded with lead," she said. "It was in the creek."

The main purpose of the annual cleanup effort, held March 16, is to remove from the St. Johns and its tributaries things that don't belong. Hundreds of volunteers fanned out across North Florida and South Georgia, plucking all sorts of items from the waterways, and after their work was done, they gathered for a free lunch.

This year, 616 volunteers worked in Clay County, up from 573 last year and compared to the 624 volunteers who showed up in larger Duval County, Jolley said. The Clay workers hauled in an estimated 23,000 pounds of trash, including 1,940 pounds of tires. The total was up from 21,143 pounds picked up in the 2001 effort, she said.

Jolley said she was taken aback by the volunteer response, which was far higher than the number of people who had preregistered.

"I wasn't prepared. I had to send over more [supply] packages to some of the sites . . . I had to go out and buy more hot dogs. I was floored," she said. "But I was thrilled."

A particularly impressive group of volunteers was the contingent from Florida National Guard Youth Challenge, a state-funded program at Camp Blanding designed to transform unmotivated high school dropouts into disciplined young people with diplomas and futures. …

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