Cleaning up the St. Johns River with Cox Conserves
On the morning of November 23rd 100 volunteers from Cox Conserves, Cox Media Group Jacksonville and Manheim Jacksonville gathered along the banks of the St. Johns River in Florida to kick off their inaugural river cleanup. This Jacksonville cleanup was the fourth cleanup Cox Enterprises has partnered with American Rivers and National River Cleanup® to host this year and the first in Jacksonville.
This cleanup emblemized the community building nature of river cleanups. At river cleanups across the country we see people from all walks of life joining each other to protect and preserve their local river or stream. On Saturday Cox employees from three different companies came together to give back to their community.
On the beach at Reddie Point Preserve our volunteers found jellyfish among the trash washed up on shore. Leatherback sea turtles feed on jellyfish and can easily mistake drifting plastic for their normal prey. With the Atlantic Ocean just a few miles downstream it’s safe to say that every six pack ring and plastic bag our volunteers cleaned up helped reduce the threat to wildlife.
At Blue Cypress Park Cox volunteers removed more than trash from the river banks. With the help of the Army Corp of Engineers we were able to send a team into the surrounding forests to remove an invasive species, the air potato, which is dangerous to native plant life. These are examples of how the hard work put in by our volunteers will have an immediate and beneficial impact on the surrounding ecosystem.
As volunteers spread out across the shoreline picking up trash and debris people began to take notice, and they were gracious. Both parks we cleaned up are popular spots for recreation including, dog walking, jogging, fishing, and paddling. The people who use the park stopped to talk with volunteers about the St. Johns River and thanked us for helping to make their park and river a cleaner, safer, and more beautiful place.
This was our first cleanup in Jacksonville with Cox employees and the turnout and enthusiasm from our volunteers was more than we could have hoped for. I’m excited to work with these amazing volunteers in 2014 to continue their tradition of environmental stewardship during another successful cleanup in Jacksonville.
How have you used your river cleanup to bring together different parts of your community? Head over to the American Rivers Facebook page and share!