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Annual environmental cleanup starts monthlong effort

MANATEE — Keep Manatee Beautiful is reminding everyone who wants to improve the world that “Green Starts Here” with two 2010 Great American Cleanup events.

The annual cleanup will kick off from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Ray’s Canoe Hideaway, 1289 Hagle Park Road, on the Upper Manatee River, and follow with countywide cleanup activities April 17.

During this year’s nationwide Great American Cleanup efforts, community volunteers and groups are pushing local “greening” at sites from Anna Maria Island to East Manatee, and Cortez to Terra Ceia Island.

The message: Individuals are responsible for keeping America’s communities clean, green and beautiful.

“This is our home,” said Ingrid McClellan, executive director of Keep Manatee Beautiful. “If we didn’t remove what we did in past years it would all still be there, plus more.”

Last year 1,561 Keep Manatee Beautiful volunteers collected more than 19,400 pounds of trash and 2,000-plus pounds of recyclables along 168 miles of roads and highways, and 230 miles of shorelines.

The “Green Starts Here” campaign is a monthlong effort, with the scheduled cleanups, along with tree plantings on Arbor Day and a recyclable collection event Earth Day, April 22.

Last year more than 284 trees were planted and State College of Florida student, Shane Henry, broke the Guinness World Record for the “most plastic bottles counted in an eight-hour period.”

McClellan said several groups that adopt roads, highways and shorelines and volunteer to pick up litter throughout the year also will be joining the cleanup efforts.

The cleanup at Ray’s Canoe Hideaway will be an effort to gather trash from along the banks of the Upper Manatee River from Christian Retreat to the Lake Manatee Dam.

Volunteers should bring work gloves and a cooler. Drinks will be provided.

Volunteers with boats and canoes are needed to provide access for participants to collect trash.

Free boat launching will be available at Rays.

For directions, check out their Web site at www.rayscanoehideaway.com.

For more information about the event at Ray’s on Saturday, call Mark and Laura Stukey at 747-3909.

On April 17, volunteers will gather at 10 sites across the county for a big push to clean up the roadsides, shores, parks and neighborhoods.

Volunteers should wear gloves, sunscreen and closed-toe shoes.

Refreshments are usually provided at most sites.

For more information about the April 17 event, call the Keep Manatee Beautiful office at 795-8272.

Report to any one of the following locations by 9 a.m.:

n Anna Maria City Hall,10005 Gulf Drive

n Emerson Point Conservation Preserve at end of 17th Street West on Snead Island

n Kingfish Boat Ramp, on the west end of the Manatee Avenue Bridge in Holmes Beach

n Terra Ceia Island, on the northwest corner of U.S. 19 bridge by Crab Trap I restaurant

n Palma Sola Causeway, at the pavilions on the north side

n Palmetto City Hall, 518 Eighth Avenue West

n Coquina Public Beach, at the concession stand

n Historic Wares Creek, at Bradenton Woman’s Club, 1705 Manatee Ave. W.

n F.I.S.H. Preserve, 11601 Cortez Road

n Manatee County Community Action Team will meet at the Church of Christ, 201 Ninth Ave. E.

n Braden River Park, 5201 Natalie Way, off State Road 70 East, behind Florida Highway Patrol – bring your own canoe or kayak to clean Gap Creek

n Jiggs’ Landing, at the intersection of Braden River and Linger Lodge roads – bring your own canoe or kayak to clean the Braden River

There also will be three trash drop-off sites in Palmetto:

n Seventeenth Street West and Eighth Avenue West

n Sixth Street West, between 10th and 11th avenues in Sutton Park

n Tenth Street West and Fifth Avenue West

No tires, hazardous waste, household appliances or construction materials will be accepted at these sites.

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