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  • 2024 Great American Cleanup

    This year, the Great American Cleanup is embarking on its 26th annual cleanup! The program, which was first launched by Keep America Beautiful in 1999, sees the organization and its affiliates come together with their communities to beautify shared spaces. This event takes place throughout a 3 month period starting in March and ending in June, during which any cleanups performed by the community with the help of Keep America Beautiful and its affiliates are counted toward the overall results of the cleanup. The Great American Cleanup has a hugely significant impact on communities throughout the nation, with last year’s cleanup amounting to over 10,000,000 pounds of litter and debris collected, over 780,000 acres of public community spaces such as parks, playgrounds, and trails being cleaned and improved, about 65,000 plants and flowers planted and more with over 300,000 volunteers reported. This overwhelming outpouring of community support is one of the most powerful tools we can wield today to create a better Earth for all of us. Here in our community, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful is celebrating the Great American Cleanup by hosting a multitude of events throughout the next few months. Coming up soon we have the 2nd annual Kid’s Kickoff, which serves a great start to the festivities. This fun, family-friendly event will be hosted at Macfarlane Park on March 16th from 9am - 11am, and encourages the young minds of our community to be environmentally conscious with fun activities, educational opportunities, and of course, a community cleanup! Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful will also be hosting the Great Port Cleanup on April 26th from 8am - 11am at Desoto Park, Davis Island, and a few other locations to encourage community upkeep of our beautiful bay! Both of these events are free to the public and can be registered for via Eventbrite at the following links: Kids Kickoff Great Port Cleanup: (Open to RSVP as of March 22nd) Moreover, the best part of the Great American Cleanup is that you, your family, friends, and other community members can lead your own projects to beautify your communities! If you have a specific project in mind and need help allocating resources, simply head to the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful website and look for the “Schedule a Cleanup” button or email with any questions. We all are looking forward to a truly promising cleanup this year, so remember to go out there and get involved! Together we can accomplish much more than we think!

  • Love is in the air! How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Sustainably

    With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, love is on everyone’s minds. No matter who you are planning to celebrate on this day, whether that be a spouse, partner, friend, or family member, it is important to be mindful of the environment when gifting during this season of love. It can be difficult to imagine how a holiday such as Valentine’s Day could have a negative impact on the environment, however, Valentine’s Day is characterized by plastic wrapped bouquets of roses, balloons, and chocolates in single-use (also plastic) heart-shaped boxes. These mass produced gifts which are the most easily accessible during this holiday often end up in landfills, unable to be recycled or repurposed. If all of these traditional Valentine’s Day gifts are not sustainable, what should I gift the special people in my life this year? Here are some sustainable suggestions you might consider this Valentine’s Day: A long lasting present or intangible present Consider opting for something that will stand the test of time, like a piece of art or mug, or something your person may find useful like a new notebook or book they’ve been meaning to read! You could also give an intangible gift, like a deep clean of a shared space or if you're creative, writing them a song! Gift a living plant Instead of a bouquet of unethically sourced flowers which will wither within a week, consider gifting a potted plant that can be cared for and enjoyed for a much longer time! Even better if it is a native species! Buy fair trade chocolate Chocolate is one of the most purchased items during the Valentine’s season, however, the cacao industry has been known to cause deforestation and use forced labor in order to meet high demands. When looking for a sweet treat for your sweetheart, search for the fair trade logo to make sure you are purchasing from a company which produces their product ethically. On this day when we celebrate those we love, don’t forget to show our Earth some love too!

  • Have No Fear, World Wetlands Day is Here!

    Celebrated on the 2nd of February each year, World Wetlands Day sets out to raise awareness about the importance of Wetlands as an integral part of the environment and their impact on human prosperity. This holiday was officially established by the UN in 2021 and commemorates the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, a treaty which provided us with a framework for wise use and preservation of wetlands, which was signed in 1971. Why should we care about restoring and preserving Wetlands? Wetlands are amongst the most degraded ecosystems on our planet, with a decline of 90% since the 1700’s. This poses a huge threat to the health of our Earth and us humans. This year, the official theme of World Wetlands Day, “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing,” aims to illustrate the relationship between the wellbeing of the wetlands and the wellbeing of humans. This ecosystem’s presence is essential as it provides biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, and other such environmental benefits, but they additionally contribute to world economies and beautifies our landscapes, directly affecting us as humans. Even more specific to us Tampa Bay residents, as a staple of our natural Florida beauty, we especially should place an emphasis on protecting these valuable ecosystems!

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