Volunteers to clean up Coquina Beach this Saturday

Volunteers on Saturday will clean up Coquina Beach
Volunteers on Saturday will clean up Coquina Beach Bradenton Herald

After thousands of residents and visitors flocked to Anna Maria Island beaches Fourth of July weekend, volunteers will be out from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Coquina Beach to clean up the coast.

“Everybody in Manatee County uses beaches and probably many people love the ocean and want to help and this is a really wonderful way to get involved,” said Michelle Leahy, volunteer and education assistant in Manatee County’s parks and natural resources department. “The young and old can participate. Everybody is out there with the same goal to try to make beaches better for residents and wildlife.”

The Manatee County cleanup is one of seven locations throughout the Tampa Bay region where volunteers will be working as part of the Tampa Bay Watch Mid-Summer Coastal Cleanup.

“We want to make sure we can clean up any marine debris after the ( Fourth of July) weekend,” said Melanie Grillone, marine specialist with Tampa Bay Watch.

For more than 20 years, Tampa Bay Watch has been having the midsummer cleanup, one of three cleanup events it organizes every year.

The other locations: Tierra Verde, Sunshine Skyway, Fort De Soto Park, Weedon Island, Coffee Pot Bayou and Palonis Park in Tampa.

“We are really just trying to include as many people as we can,” Grillone said.

As of Thursday morning, 336 volunteers have registered for the cleanups.

“This is going to be our largest,” Grillone said.

At Coquina Beach, volunteers will walk along the shoreline looking for any debris, said Cary Catts, education volunteer specialist with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department.

“We will be walking along areas and looking for any manmade material that shouldn’t be out there along the beach that we can dispose of,” he said.

Volunteers will meet at Coquina Bayside Park, 2651 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach, and cleanup will be done on the Gulf and bayside, Catts said.

“It is always an important thing to get out there and do what we can,” he said.

To volunteer to work on Coquina Beach, contact michelle.leahy@mymanatee.org.

Claire Aronson: 941-745-7024, @Claire_Aronson