29K pounds of trash removed in river cleanup effort


St. Johns Riverkeeper, local governments, businesses and nonprofits came together between March 18 and Earth Day, April 22, to clean up the St. Johns River watershed. The first annual Great St. Johns River Cleanup, supported by Bronco Wild Fund, brought more than 1,300 volunteers together to collect more than 29,000 pounds of trash.

“We are blown away by the support we received from six county governments and numerous business and nonprofit partners throughout the watershed during our first ever month-long Great St. Johns River Cleanup,” said Meredith Jespersen, development director for St. Johns Riverkeeper. “We can’t wait to make this an annual, collaborative tradition and see how it grows over the years.”

The St. Johns River watershed encompasses nearly 9,000 square miles, from Blue Cypress Lake near Vero Beach to the mouth of the river at Mayport. Residents living throughout the entire watershed showed up to make the event a success.

Volunteers cleaned 76 sites across Duval, Putnam, Orange, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties. Each county hosted its own official cleanups, and some volunteers chose to clean on their own in neighborhoods along the river and its tributaries. Businesses and nonprofits invited their team members to clean parks and boat ramps. Kayakers and paddle boarders drifted along shorelines and removed garbage that had already made its way into the waters.

Your Local Ford Dealers presented one participant, a nurse from Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, with a $1,000 gift card for sharing her cleanup photo on Instagram.

"We’re proud to support the North Florida Ford dealers in their month-long effort with St. Johns Riverkeeper,” said Kelsey Gerken, Cause Marketing & Bronco Off-Roadeo manager at Ford. “This project, a recipient of a Bronco Wild Fund grant, celebrated Earth Month by preserving a waterway that impacts recreation and people throughout the region.”

For more information on the cleanup, go to StJohnsRiverCleanup.com.

St. Johns Riverkeeper Inc. is a member-supported, nonprofit advocacy organization for the St. Johns River and its watershed. Its mission is to defend the St. Johns River and advocate for its protection. Go to stjohnsriverkeeper.org for more information.