For those who enjoy the upcoming Fourth of July Fireworks at dusk on Independence Day, don't forget that the following morning is vitally important to keeping our beachfront clean.
Fort Myers Beach, if history repeats itself, will be littered with fireworks and debris on Thursday, July 5. Show your country pride and beach awareness at the annual Post Fireworks Cleanup that day.
Two nonprofit organizations - the Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation and Keep Lee County Beautiful- are seeking volunteer help that morning from 8:30 to 11 a.m.
"I never want to suggest that we cut out the fireworks," said Beach resident Alice Plaatje, who admitted to watching the fireworks the night before the cleanup. "But, there has to be a sense of responsibility the morning after."
Plaatje is a member of the Foundation, a group once known as the Beach Pilot Club. That combined entity introduced the Cleanup event 12 years ago by first tidying firework debris at Times Square. The seasoned veterans were joined by KLCB several years later in the cause.
The Foundation will have two beachside stations for volunteers to drop by and pick up supplies to aid in the beachfront cleanup. Those interested can stop by Newton Park or Crescent Beach Family Park for trash bags and gloves.
Lee County Parks and Recreation's Terry Cain, another Beach resident, will have a station for volunteers to clean the beach at Bunche Beach.
In fact, both Plaatje and Cain are the Beach representatives on the KLCB executive committee. Cain is the chairperson-elect, while Plaatje is the secretary.
"Every year, we have been doing a little better in getting volunteers," said Plaatje. "To volunteer this year, all you have to do is show up at one of the three stations at any time in the morning. We certainly won't turn anybody away at 9 or 9:30 a.m.
After the cleanup, both groups will provide cold water and snacks to volunteer workers who help in this endeavor. Keep Lee County Beautiful will provide the supplies as a major sponsor of the annual fireworks cleanup.
"Terry Cain has always called July 5 the dirtiest day of the year. She's right," said Plaatje. "You would not believe some of the things we pick up the morning after."