Mid-Summer Coastal Cleanup
July 9, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Various locations; sign up at tampabaywatch.org/volunteer.
Many years ago I went to Fort De Soto the day after a holiday weekend and realized that people who clean up after themselves are apparently rarer than palm trees in Antarctica. The place was trashed, in every sense of the word, from discarded hot dog wrappers to stuff that clearly washed ashore from careless boaters. Tampa Bay Watch times its Mid-Summer Coastal Cleanup the weekend after July 4 for that reason: People are pigs. Not you guys, of course. Tampa Bay Watch coordinates multiple cleanups: Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, North Skyway Pier, Coffee Pot Bayou, Palonis Park, Weedon Island and Coquina Beach. The Coffee Pot Bayou cleanup takes place solely from the sea, and to participate in that particular cleanup you need to bring your kayak/canoe/standup paddleboard (SUP). All others take place from the land, although Fort De Soto and the Skyway Pier have water-based cleanups as well. Look, it’s not exactly the same thing as soaking up rays on the beach, but look at it this way: One, your efforts make things look better instantly; two, you can get your FitBit steps in at the cleanup; and three, much of the trash you collect can kill wildlife, so you’re saving lives.