Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Great American Cleanup volunteers haul away a lot of trash across Hillsborough

Orange Grove Middle Magnet School science teachers David Phillips of Clearwater and Julian Rivera of Tampa pick up trash on the north side of the Courtney Campbell Parkway.


Orange Grove Middle Magnet School science teachers David Phillips of Clearwater and Julian Rivera of Tampa pick up trash on the north side of the Courtney Campbell Parkway.

TAMPA — A bag of big, rotting dead birds. The bed of a pickup truck. A shower rod.

Decked out in neon green vests and free T-shirts, volunteers picked those things and many others off the ground and out of the water on Saturday morning during the Great American Cleanup.

Ralen Toledo, 16, found the birds at near the Courtney Campbell Parkway. They were probably pelicans, but he's not sure.

"We weren't too eager to open it," he said.

He handed the bag off to adults shortly after finding it.

"We didn't want to carry it," said Austin Steuer, 14. "It was kind of smelly."

About 2,500 people signed up for the 17th annual cleanup at 44 locations in Hillsborough County. The morning's work included litter pickup, tree planting and education outreach programs.

Many volunteers were students looking to get community service, but they were joined by families and adults wanting to help out, said Christine Commerce, executive director of Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful.

Last year, volunteers picked up more than 60,000 pounds of trash, she said. Saturday's total wasn't immediately available.

"If it wasn't for their efforts, our county would be under a blanket of trash," Commerce said.

Last year, Hillsborough County took first place for attendance among communities of more than 200,000, education coordinator Pat DePlasco said. She said she hopes to do it again this year.

At Perrone Park in Tampa, about 10 volunteers were tasked with cleaning up a homeless camp behind the park. They needed the help of sheriff's deputies to finish. The trash at the site completely filled a pickup truck, Commerce said.

At the causeway cleanup, four Orange Grove Middle School girls hung out and joked around after picking up trash.

Mark Rametta, there with his 13-year-old daughter, Miranda, said they wanted to help the community.

"Their school brought them out here and said, 'Clean up, make a difference,' " he said.

The teens were more vocal about the extra credit they are getting for science class.

"Watch her give us two points," said an irritated Jennifer Rager, 14, after finding a dead dog in a box.

Hilary Lehman can be reached at or (813) 661-2441.

fast facts

Cleanup continues

While most of the work for the Great American Cleanup in Hillsborough County took place Saturday, other cleanups will happen later this week. They are:

Wednesday: Gaither High School, 16200 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa.

Thursday: Ben T. Davis Beach, 7650 Courtney Campbell Parkway,


Saturday: Lake Heather, 3224 Pleasant Lake Drive, Tampa; and at 18819 U.S. 41 N, in Lutz.

Great American Cleanup volunteers haul away a lot of trash across Hillsborough 04/17/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 17, 2010 11:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gov. Rick Scott could soon be the all-time king of line-item veto


    2016: $256,144,027

    2015: $461,387,164

    2014: $68,850,121

    2013: $367,950,394

    2012: $142,752,177

    2011: $615,347,550

    Only once has Scott used the line-item veto sparingly. That was in 2014, the year he ran for re-election, when he removed a paltry $69 million from the budget.

    Gov. Rick Scott waves a veto pen at The Villages in 2011.
  2. Rays morning after: An up-and down day for Jose De Leon


    Rays RHP Jose De Leon had a busy Monday - getting called up to join the Rays for the first time and making his way from Pawtucket, R.I., to Boston and the flying to Texas, working 2 2/3 eventful innings to get the W in the 10-8 victory over the Rangers, and then getting optioned back to Triple-A.

    Jose De Leon follows through in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on May 29, 2017.
  3. Resignation of communications director Dubke could signal more changes within White House staff


    WASHINGTON — Mike Dubke has resigned as White House communications director, a senior administration official confirmed Tuesday, in the first of what could be a series of changes to President Trump's senior staff amid the growing Russia scandal.

    President Donald Trump speaks at the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Monday, May 29, 2017, during a Memorial Day ceremony. [Associated Press]
  4. Trump pays somber tribute to fallen troops on Memorial Day


    ARLINGTON, Va. — President Donald Trump expressed the nation's "boundless" gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice paid by Americans defending the United States, dedicating his first Memorial Day address as commander in chief to a top Cabinet secretary and two other families who lost loved ones.

    Brittany Jacobs, left, watches as her 6-year-old son Christian Jacobs meets President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Arlington, Va. Jacobs father, Marine Sgt. Christopher Jacobs, was killed in 2011. [Associated Press]
  5. Florida education news: Budgets, discipline, charter schools and more


    BUDGETING: Florida school district officials keep a close eye on their spending plans as they await word on the Legislature's budget. Gov. Rick Scott