13th Annual St. Johns River Celebration a Success

April 03, 2008  

Totals show that the 13th Annual St. Johns River Celebration, a city-wide volunteer cleanup hosted by the City of Jacksonville and Keep Jacksonville Beautiful Commission on Saturday, March 15, was one of the most successful of its kind in recent years.

Individual residents, families, Scout troops, high school students, corporate groups and others spent the morning collecting litter and debris from more than 20 riverfront and inland sites across the community. Together, 1,333 volunteers contributed 3,570.5 hours and collected 41,080 pounds of litter.

Since 2000, 8,908 event volunteers have logged 29,352 hours and collected 333,851 pounds of marine and inland litter.

“Community cleanup events, like the annual St. Johns River Celebration, provide a number of benefits to the health of one of our city's greatest treasures,” said Mayor John Peyton. . “Government has made some recent strides in improving our river's health, but we cannot do it alone. I am proud of those who have exhibited great community spirit by giving their time to improve our environment.”

This year's event also featured several new twists. Celebrating the St. Johns River as the community's signature landmark, Mayor Peyton underscored the importance of the St. Johns River Celebration by proclaiming the month of March as “River Month” in Jacksonville.

Another facet of the celebration was a mural art project of the St. Johns which was on display in the month of March at the Main Library. The mural was created by Douglas Anderson School of the Arts students under the direction of Sarah Crooks Flaire of the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.

In addition to traditional events at various locations throughout the city, some volunteers also cleaned the waterways from their kayaks, canoes and other water vessels through a partnership with All Wet Sports.

Part of the Florida Great American Cleanup, this event is one of many national and regional volunteer efforts to clean and protect the environment throughout the spring. Participants were rewarded for their efforts with a commemorative t-shirt and refreshments at Metropolitan Park following the event.

Spearheaded by the Environmental and Compliance Department/Clean It Up, Green it Up Program and Keep Jacksonville Beautiful Commission, the event is made possible by partnerships with Advanced Disposal Services, All Wet Sports, Anheuser-Busch, Bending Branches, Coca-Cola, CITI, Consolidated Box, HSBC, JEA, Keep Jacksonville Beautiful, Publix Super Markets, Southland Waste Systems, Vistakon, Waste Pro of Florida, Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. and WJCT.

National sponsors include DOW, Firestone, Glad, Honda, Keep America Beautiful, Pepsi, Sam's Club, Scotts Miracle Grow, Sprint, Troy-Bilt, Waste Management and Wrigley.

For more information about the event, visit www.coj.net key words: “St. Johns River Celebration.”