Friends of Florida and Big Cat Rescue
Hundreds Lend Hand During Pasco Coastal Cleanup
Published: September 20, 2008
Land O' Lakes – The tangle of overgrown plants along Collier Parkway rustled suddenly Saturday morning.
Stacy Wiles burst through the underbrush, a trash bag in one hand, the other grasping for the silver guardrail at the edge of the sidewalk.
"Civilization! Civilization!" she cried in mock relief before depositing her plastic trash bag on the sidewalk.
All around her, nearly a dozen youngsters from Friends for Florida, all of them middle- or elementary-school students in Pasco County, scurried in and out of the tangle of trees, vines and underbrush on the hunt for litter.
Saturday was Coastal Cleanup day in Pasco. Hundreds of people across the county spent their morning collecting the plastic soda bottles, aluminum cans and cigarette butts – thousands of cigarette butts – that clutter the county's roadsides.
"I've been scooping out along the curb, and there's just tons of cigarette butts," said Jodi Mark of Lutz, whose son, Jordan, created Friends for Florida. The group raises money to help other environmental nonprofits, such as Hillsborough County's Big Cat Rescue, Jodi Mark said.
In Land O' Lakes alone, organizers signed up 373 people for the day's activities, said Betsy Crisp of the University of Florida's Pasco County Extension Service. That was nearly 70 people more than last year, she said.
Teams of Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and even Friends for Florida's budding environmentalists collected enough bags of trash to nearly fill the tractor trailer-size 30-yard trash bin parked at their rallying spot in front of SunTrust Bank on State Road 54.
Last year, volunteers countywide collected more than 15 tons of litter. Figures from Saturday's haul will be available early next week after the trash is weighed at the county's incinerator on Shady Hills Road, organizers said.
Along with their bags of throw-aways, Friends for Florida also collected a bag of cans, glass and plastic suitable for recycling. The Marks said they'll take that bag home and put it in with their household recycling.
"We were surprised there was no recycling this year," said Todd Mark. "We're going to suggest that for next year."
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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