By Tamas Mondovics

Brandon and surrounding area residents who have been loyally supporting the efforts to keep Tampa Bay’s shorelines, parks, waterways and roadways clean can be rather proud of this year’s Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB) Hillsborough River and Coastal Cleanup campaign.

The event that is normally held each fall has once again attracted more than 4,000 volunteers who tended to over 70 sites throughout Hillsborough County.

According to KTBB Development and Community Relations Manager, Patricia A. DePlasco, current tally revealed that the day-long event removed more than 6,000 lbs of litter and debris from the Bay area neighborhoods.

To celebrate the hard work, 1,500 volunteers attended the annual Rollin’ on the River Rally at Lowry Park, which included a free picnic lunch sponsored by HMSHost, live music with Bobby and the Rockets, environmental education booths and exhibits and the ever entertaining Recycle Regatta.

“The Recycle Regatta challenged participants to construct a watercraft from at least 70 percent recycled materials,” DePlasco said. “The festivities provided a hilarious competition for the spectators to enjoy. This head-to-head race was a competition between upper middle and high school groups, colleges, and corporations.”

KTBB’s efforts and valuable work in the community was also rewarded last month with generous aid by the Humana Communities Benefit Charitable Giving Program which awarded a one-time $100,000 Signature Grant to the non-profit environmental organization.

The award is to assist with KTBB’s environmental education initiative and will enable the completion of the educational pavilion at the Florida Learning Garden, planned to be used as an environmentally-sustainable training facility to provide community workshops, youth and adult presentations, volunteer training and hands-on environmental learning experiences.

“The Education Pavilion is the key component of the Florida Learning Garden” said Debra Evenson, Executive Director of Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. “It will be a place to congregate, learn, share, explore and pass on knowledge to help sustain a healthy environment.”

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