Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

3,000 volunteers help clean up Hillsborough coastline

Volunteers Doug Davidson and his wife, Stephanie, help with the cleanup along the Courtney Campbell Causeway at Ben T. Davis beach.


Volunteers Doug Davidson and his wife, Stephanie, help with the cleanup along the Courtney Campbell Causeway at Ben T. Davis beach.

TAMPA — Saturday was a beautiful day for the beach, but this beach wasn't so beautiful.

Not at the beginning of the day, anyway.

But with the help of hundreds of volunteers, more than 1,000 bags of trash were removed from along the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

Keep Hillsborough County beautiful dispatched about 3,000 volunteers to 28 sites as part of the International Coastal Cleanup.

Along the causeway, volunteers picked up clothes, beer cans, shoes, cigarette butts, nets, plastic, cardboard and more. The trash lay on the white sand, in the mangroves and along the causeway's access road.

While no occult items or drugs were found along the causeway this year, as they had in the past, there were still strange things in the mix: A bra, chicken bones, a dreidel, a child's car seat and XL men's white underwear.

Members of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity at the University of Tampa found a part of a prosthetic hand, and a group of USF students discovered a large crossbow case (without the bow).

At about 9 a.m., USF Student Environmental Association members grabbed gloves and plastic bags and walked west along the access road until they saw a foot-worn path leading into the mangroves.

They ducked under branches, hunched down to pick up trash and carefully navigated the sprawling mangroves.

"Just hold the mangroves," Christopher Lizardi, 20, instructed. "But try not to hurt them because they're important to the ecosystem, and they're a buffer zone."

Lizardi is an environmental science major. So is Shawna Feinman, 19. She's studying environmental policy.

Although their approach is academic, they like to get their hands dirty to help, too.

"You have to get out there and do it yourself," Feinman said. "You can't just wait around for somebody else to clean it up."

The group trudges on and eventually emerges on the access road, where biology major Tara Costich, 23, points out a large black-and-yellow spider.

"That is crazy," said Jeff Sheridan, 21.

He's the one who found the men's underwear in what he thinks may have been a homeless man's living room.

Volunteers at other sites were also successful. In Gibsonton's Gardenville Recreation Center, volunteers pulled out about 60 tires, said Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful executive director Christine Commerce.

No estimate of the total amount of trash removed was available Saturday, but Commerce said last year volunteers cleared about 100 miles of coast, hauling away 60,000 pounds of junk and litter.

Saturday's event also led to one animal rescue, Commerce said. A plover — a small bird — with a broken wing was discovered and taken to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. Although it wasn't tangled in trash, workers have seen dead birds during past cleanups. And that's part of the reason they keep cleaning.

"People don't realize that what seems to be a harmless piece of litter can be harmful to the wildlife," Commerce said. "They can ingest it or get tangled in it."

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.

3,000 volunteers help clean up Hillsborough coastline 09/20/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 22, 2008 2:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Plan your weekend Aug. 18-20: Elvis in concert, Jason Aldean, Monster Jam Triple Threat, Sing-Along Grease


    Plan your weekend

    The king

    Elvis: Live in Concert: This year marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, and Ruth Eckerd Hall will have a Graceland-produced Elvis concert on a movie screen, accompanied by a full live orchestra. Graceland calls it the closest audiences …

    Handout photos of Elvis: Live in Concert, a tour spectacle featuring a live orchestra backing the voice of Elvis Presley, projected onto a movie screen. The tour comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall on 8/18/17. Credit: Graceland.
  2. Woman convicted in murder of 18-year-old with cerebral palsy gets lighter term


    TAMPA — Linda Bonck, a 90-pound Chamberlain High School senior with cerebral palsy, lived near Tampa's Lowry Park. She struggled to walk and talk but was known for being friendly and trusting of strangers until she vanished one day in 1992.

    Georgia Miller, 39, was convicted for the 1992 murder of Linda Bonck, an 18-year-old Chamberlain High School student who had cerebral palsy. Originally sentenced to life in prison, Miller was resentenced Wednesday to 65 years, the result of U.S. and Florida Supreme Court decisions that found it unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life. With gain time, Miller will be released from prison in the next six years. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  3. Boynton Beach woman arrested on DUI, child abuse charges


    A Boynton Beach woman was arrested Saturday and faces DUI and child abuse charges after she blew a .200 on a breath test with an unbuckled child in the backseat, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

    Brandy Lerma, 31 of Boynton Beach, was arrested on DUI and child abuse charges on Saturday. [Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Editorial: Why can't Hillsborough commissioners move Confederate monument?


    The violence in Charlottesville, Va., crystallized for much of the nation the danger of refusing to address painful symbols of the past. But not so in Hillsborough County, where the County Commission on Wednesday reversed itself yet again and left open the possibility of leaving a Confederate monument outside the …

  5. Former WTSP employee sues station's parent companies for gender discrimination


    A former director at WTSP-Ch. 10 has sued the station's parent companies, claiming she was the victim of gender discrimination.