Since 1992, on World Oceans Day, people around the planet celebrate and honor our oceans, which connect us all. This year, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful (KTBB), a Keep America Beautiful affiliate and the community improvement 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to a cleaner, greener and more beautiful Tampa Bay, would normally be gearing up for a huge, water-based cleanup in and around the 14 miles of rivers and shorelines in Hillsborough County.
It would be coordinating hundreds of volunteers and providing supplies and support for this annual event on Saturday, June 6. But, this year, the staff at KTBB had to be a little more creative when it came to planning.
“Last year, volunteers removed over 4,500 lbs. of litter and debris during this event alone and we became concerned that stay-at-home restrictions and social distancing precautions would force Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to put this large, scheduled cleanup on hold,” explained KTBB Executive Director Debbie Evenson.
She added, “Our volunteers are passionate about keeping our community trash-free and when they started contacting us, asking if they could do cleanups with their families while on walks in their neighborhoods, we thought, maybe we could pull this off after all.”
The result was an idea to offer ‘no-contact supply pickups’ and the coordination of a World Oceans Day Cleanup, ‘Social Distancing Style.’ For this year’s event, KTBB is encouraging individuals and families to participate while abiding by the social distancing standards set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is calling all volunteers with kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and motorboats to help clean up our local waterways. If volunteers do not have a water vessel, they can still participate by cleaning a local shoreline or neighborhood.
“This plan allows individuals and families to take action wherever they are instead of gathering in large groups. We hope everyone will pledge to volunteer and join Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful remotely on Saturday, June 6, 2020 as we celebrate World Oceans Day,” encouraged Evenson.
Since 1989, KTBB has formed partnerships with local governments, corporations, schools and neighborhood organizations to engage individuals and provide opportunities to enhance the community through volunteer participation. To get involved with KTBB, call 221-8733 or visit its website.