By Angela Higginbotham

A joint effort between the St. Johns County Audubon Society and the North Florida Coastal Caretakers brought together a group of seven dedicated volunteers in mid-September to help in the Ocean Conservancy’s 31st International Coastal Cleanup event. The coastal cleanup is the world’s largest single day volunteer effort to remove trash from local waterways, beaches, lakes, and rivers. Adam Morley from the North Florida Coastal Caretakers was an organizer for the event.

The group removed 150 pounds of trash from a half mile stretch of the St. Augustine South shoreline of the Intracoastal Waterway. Volunteers utilized the Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell app to document the recovered trash. The app shares this data with others via the world’s largest database on marine debris. Volunteers for this worthy cause are a critical element to the global movement of turning the tide on marine litter. The volunteers also play a crucial role in helping advance research and reach potential policy solutions on marine litter.

Premier Homes Realty Inc. Michael Taylor and Tari Taylor

Eleven-year-old Blair Clark spent the day helping with the litter cleanup. His father, Richard Clark, and brother, Grey Clark, also lent a helping hand. The young Blair Clark is an active member of the Audubon Society and he passionately cares about wildlife and the environment.

“My favorite part of the day was finding an old canoe stuck in the mud on the bank. We used a winch and got it in the boat, and also a lot of other everyday trash. Cleaning up the water is a nice thing to do. I want to help out, and we can make it better if we just try,” Blair Clark said.

The volunteers spent three hours on a pontoon boat named the Litter Gitter. Three hours was not long enough for some; they wanted to stay and remove more trash.

“A tree was tangled up with fishing line. We found an old basketball and water jugs. We filled up the boat with trash,” Grey Clark said.

The Audubon Society and The Ocean Conservancy confirm that every year an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic waste flows into the ocean. Litter is incredibly harmful to the marine environment and also to the wildlife. Plastic debris has been documented as being harmful to nearly 700 wildlife species. Without global action, there could be one ton of plastic for every three tons of fin fish by 2025. This would lead to significant environmental, economic and health issues. At least 80 percent of plastic found in the ocean originates from land based sources.

By participating in volunteer cleanup events and remaining conscious of how waste is recycled or discarded, we can all play a major role in keeping our waterways, ocean, lakes and rivers clean. The Ocean Conservancy is working with the public to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, we can create science based solutions for a healthy ocean, wildlife and communities that depend on it. Visit for more information.

Photo courtesy Jean Rolke

Richard Clark, with sons Blair and Grey helped St. Johns County Audubon President Jean Rolke and other Audubon members on the Litter Gitter

  • Smiles by Glenos & Hadfic Orthodontists
  • I.T. Promise Inc. Computer Services Professional Computer Services business and residential
  • Pavers concrete and more Free estimates
  • Snip's Tree and stump service over 25 years experience
  • The right cleaners, LLC House cleaning services
  • Premier Homes Realty Inc. Michael Taylor and Tari Taylor
  • Quality Eye care 25+ years of experience
  • Vote Rod Hardwick for st johns county sheriff Working together for the strength of our community during challenging times
  • Preddy law firm estate planning, wills, trusts, probate, guardianship
  • Starling Nocatee, 360 degree virtual tour
  • Advertise in our May Issue The Creek Line
  • Staverman Hearing Centers Hear loud and clear
  • Support Community Journalism The Creek Line
  • Tutoring club of st johns. Text tutoring to 484848 for a chance to win one month of free tutoring
  • Being Well Florida News line is excited to introduce Being Well magazine
  • Westminster Woods on Julington creek. Live well. Be Happy
  • Have questions about your medicare benefits? Call a SHINE volunteer.
  • Ellegant earth solutions complete lawn maintenance with 28 years experience, complete lawn maintenance
  • Prudential Financial Planning Services with Andrew Laino
  • Vote for Dr. Erick Aguilar Republican candidate U.S. House Fl 4th district
  • Academy of Dance Open House & Registration August 19th and 20th 3pm to 6pm Classes start August 24th! Ballet, Pointem Jazz, Hip Hop Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Music Theatre, Vocal
  • Affordable Water
  • All About Ballroom
  • Do you only want cremation?
  • Craig Funeral services, Funeral, Crematory, Memorial Park
  • Cronin Ace Hardware
  • Vote for Christian Whitehurst! for St. Johns county commissioner, District 1
  • Doug Nunnery, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,
  • Finding the right doctor just got easier, Dr. Levine Baptist primary care
  • DIscount up to 30% Jim Register state farm agent
  • Nemetz Dental Associates! Your new smile awaits!
  • Deerwood Academy register now for 2020-2021 VPK
  • Eye center of st augustine, The eye surgery Center of St Augustine
  • Famous Automotive and tire center
  • Fruit Cove Baptist Church
  • The Goddard School summer camp
  • Havana Printing and office supply Call us today for all your cutome printing needs
  • Ian MacDonald Mortgage loan originator with Regions Mortgage
  • Julington Creek Chiropractic & Wellness Center P.A. serving st. johns county for nearly 21 years
  • Wild Birds Unlimited Nature shop. Have you watered your birds lately?
  • Creeks Air Conditioning & Heating. We service all makes and models for residential and commerical!
  • Crosswinds Veterinary Hospital. Preventative Medicine and wellness, Surgery, Dentistry, Labs and Imaging, Farm Animal Medicine, In-Patient and Emergency Care
  • Florida Waterways Inc. Your trusted Waterway Advisers
  • Julington Creek Family Dentistry. Implant Cosmetic and Restoration Dentistry. We are following Advanced Safety protocols set forth by CDC, OSHA and ADA guidelines for dental practices
  • Alicia Washington for Circuit Judge
  • Re-elect Mike Orfinger for circuit judge
  • Concrete Works! Free Estimates, driveways, Patios, Walkways, Concrete removal, Driveway extension, Pavers
  • Family Remodeling Contractors! Bath, Kitchen &ADA Remodeling
  • River Garden Senior Services, However and whenever you need us we're here
  • Starlight Gymnastics! Our #1 priority is your children!
  • Chris Strickland for ST Johns county sheriff!
  • Sugar Bear Antique Mall Summer spectacular sale July 10th-12th
  • Baptist Health, Great tools for motherhood
  • A Green Cleaner, Free pickup and delivery to your home!
  • HarborChase independent & assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Your safety and peace of mind is always our Top Priority
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021