St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Grab a bag, hit the sand, clean up

If you're a real beach lover, here's a chance to show that love. Join in the annual Coastal Cleanups on Saturday at six Pasco locations.

Published September 19, 2003

Organizers are inviting folks to pitch in.

Hundreds of volunteers are expected to grab trash bags and take part in Coastal Cleanups at several Pasco County locations on Saturday.

"You can never have too many volunteers," co-coordinator Betsy Crisp said.

Organizers say the event draws all ages, from tots to senior citizens. Twenty-two teams, including Scouts and high school service organizations have already signed on.

"We get a wide gamut of people," co-coordinator Kurt Conover said. "What's interesting is to see the same people (from previous years) coming back."

For 12 years, Florida Coastal Cleanup has organized the event. Teams are assigned a territory to tidy along 10-mile stretches of U.S. 41 and State Road 54. Volunteers will help groom roads by gathering litter such as cigarette butts and soda cans.

One hundred others are gearing up to take part in the Coastal Cleanup along the Cotee River, in New Port Richey. Starting at 8 a.m., volunteers will meet on River Road at a boat ramp to gather supplies. From there, teams will be assigned a shoreline site to tidy.

Volunteers who own boats are needed to help clean debris from the waterways, said Bob Consalvo, cleanup organizer.

"Cotee River is our focal point," Consalvo said. "It's very important to keep that image of a beautiful river for people who visit here."

Organizers say the cleanup efforts benefit the entire community.

"It's a community pride type-thing," Conover said. "You always want your community to look good."

"It's like the old-fashioned block party," Crisp said. "You work hard and get sweaty and then come down and have lunch."

The Land O'Lakes event is expected to last until noon. Hungry Harry's will provide a barbecue lunch for volunteers and the first 500 will receive a baseball cap. Other prizes will be raffled off.

The first 100 volunteers in New Port Richey will receive a free T-shirt. Cleanup will end at 11:30 a.m.

"It's a lot of hard work, but it's rewarding," Crisp said.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.