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Santiva Saltwater Fishing team guides led a team of 108 family and friends to clean up the coast and waterways in and around Captiva Island. Local Captain Jimmy Burnsed and his wife, Sarah, organized the event beginning in 2020.
"Providing an event to promote awareness to this vital mission and encourage our local community to take action on the welfare of our waterways is very important to us," said Sarah Burnsed. She is a marine biologist with FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI).
"We hope to make this an annual event to create awareness in our community and give people a chance to feel like they truly make a difference in keeping Captiva a beautiful place to live, boat, fish, and enjoy the water," said Jimmy Burnsed.
The Burnseds enlisted the help of local businesses and organizations, including Captiva Rod & Gun Club and R. S. Walsh Landscaping to provide food and Captiva Cruises to provide the venue. In addition, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Gabrielle Midolo and four officers from the southwest regional law enforcement division provided a dive team and two law enforcement boats for the safety of the divers and cleanup participants.
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Also participating in the event as divers were an additional five FWRI marine biologists from all over Southwest Florida and as far away as Key West who made the trip to Captiva for this cleanup event. Sanibel City Police and Lee County Sheriff's department were also on hand, and Scubavice Diving Center generously provided tanks and diving equipment for use at the event.
Special thanks to Mike Thomas, the program coordinator for KLCB, for his support (especially the dumpster, which filled to the brim!) and Bianca Ferrara, the program coordinator for KLCB, for her attendance and help at this event. Keep Lee County Beautiful is the local organizer of Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), which has been taking place for 35 years. ICC has removed nearly 340 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways worldwide. It remains the most significant global volunteer effort to remove trash from our local shorelines.
The mission of Keep Lee County Beautiful is to inspire, educate, and engage the Lee County community in improving, beautifying, and protecting our environment. For more information call (239) 334 3488 or visit www.klcb.org.
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