International Coastal Clean Up Slated for Sept. 26th in South Walton

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Friends of South Walton Sea Turtles, in partnership with Visit South Walton, will once again host the International Coastal Cleanup in its new form for 2020.  As many things have changed in the era of Covid-19, so has the way that we will approach our local coastal cleanup.  This year’s ICC will look different as communities around the world have been called on to participate throughout September in ways that are effective and safe for the volunteers in each region.  Some will be hosting virtual cleanups while other areas will be “Feet in the Sand” cleanups.  As ICC has indicated to all of its partners, we may be physically apart but working together in spirit.

With that in mind, the Volunteer Beach Ambassador Team invites all community members and visitors to the Emerald Coast to join in our efforts to clean up the beaches of South Walton on Saturday morning, September 26th, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.  We will do it with little pomp and circumstance but rather with a heart for serving our community and our beautiful coastal environment. We won’t come together to acquire the cute t-shirts of the past but to gain the sense of serving for the greater good of Walton County and the health of the marine and bird life that make the Gulf of Mexico their home.  Will you join us?  Can we count on you?

For the safety of all who would like to participate in this community centered event, we will be hosting clean ups at all Regional Beach Accesses so that you may work independently or in small family/friend groups, maintaining a 6 foot social distance from others; effectively spreading out over all 26 miles of Walton County beaches.  We encourage and welcome local Private HomeOwners and condo/resort HomeOwner Associations to join us and organize a cleanup on their private properties.

All participants may choose to count their collected debris on the Clean Swell App, available through the App Store https://apps.apple.com/us/app/clean-swell/id985692119 or at Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.oceanconservancy.cleanswell

Community Cleanup Volunteers may also sign in with a VBA host and count total time served.  Or, participants may count both their debris and time.  Others may simply choose to go about the task of cleaning the beach and disposing of their debris without keeping track of items or time. Guests of South Walton, Local Citizens, Private Home Owners, and Owner Associations may choose to keep time served and share those total hours with Laurie@VisitSouthWalton.com to be counted in the community wide total of time served in cleaning our community beaches.

If you would like to join in a clean up at a Regional Access, you will find Host Volunteer Beach Ambassadors at the following locations:

Inlet Beach Regional Access,  139 S Orange St., Inlet

Santa Clara Regional Access,  3468E Co Hwy 30A, Seagrove

Van Ness Butler Regional Access,  1931 E Co Hwy 30A, Seaside

Grayton Beach Neighborhood Access,  288 Garfield St., Grayton Beach

Blue Mountain Beach Regional Access,  2365 S Co Hwy 83, Blue Mountain Beach

Gulf View Heights Regional Access,  186 Gulfview Heights St., Santa Rosa Beach

Ed Walline Regional Access,  4447 W Co Hwy 30A, Gulf Place

Fort Panic Regional Access,  5753 W Co Hwy 30A, Dune Allen

Dune Allen Regional Access,  5999 W Co Hwy 30A, Dune Allen

Miramar Beach Regional Access,  2375 Scenic Gulf Dr., Miramar Beach

We encourage all participants to provide their own trash bags or buckets, gloves, hat, sunscreen, water bottle, etc.  There will be limited bags/gloves available for those without.  In addition, we recommend wearing a facemask for your personal safety and the safety of others.

In past years, Walton County residents and visitors have turned out in large numbers to support the cleaning of our beaches and subsequently the Gulf during the International Coastal Cleanup.  Each piece of debris collected is one more piece of trash saved from our ocean systems.  We think this year can be equally effective with your help and presence in this community cleanup.  It may look slightly different in 2020 but with your help it will have the same positive impact on our coastal environment.  Please join us, Saturday, September 26th at a beach near you.  We look forward to seeing you there.