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Unless we solve that problem

What quote am I vibing? "The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others." Theodore Roosevelt

Pounds of Trash Removed from the Wild This Weekend / All Time: 10 / 12

I had a great meeting this past week with the volunteer coordinator for our regional Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and I am looking forward to some fun projects ahead. In the meantime, I had a few hours free this weekend to do some solo trash pickup adventures in the name of Wild Keepers.

On Saturday morning, I ventured into the very closeby Kiplinger Preserve. I have walked this loop many times, and didn't remember seeing all that much trash. It's amazing what you see when you look! It's also amazing how deep into the bushes I was willing to dive for a tossed Budweiser can. By the end of the loop, I had a bag full of mostly cans, bottles, and fast food cups, and a body full of scratches and thorns. On order from Amazon - a grabby thing at the end of a pole.

Honestly, folks - if you're going to litter, don't. But if you are say, being chased by a gator or bobcat, and find yourself in a situation that you need to drop everything, drop it directly on the path. Not into the woods. That's just rude times one-thousand.

I decided to make this weekend Land and Sea themed, so this morning I took myself to Bathtub Reef Beach. I haven't been there in a really long time, and I was excited to see the new, clean bathroom facilities.

The beach was littered with litter and also Portuguese Men O War jellyfish! I did accidentally pick up a deflated one once, thinking it was a plastic bag. Thank goodness, I guess they lose their magic when they lose their buoyancy - I was unstung.

Picking up trash in general is new to me, so this may not shock you, but I was shocked - SHOCKED - to pick up 118 plastic bottle caps in one small stretch of beach in just about an hour. Within the first 45 seconds of trash pick up, I said "Oh...I should count these bottle caps." It's absurd. Life changing, even. I found myself asking follow up questions, such as "where are all the bottles?" - then I remembered the islands of plastic in our oceans. 118 bottle caps. And if I stayed another hour, I would have found 118 more. They kept showing up as the waves came in. They get caught up in the seaweed, making them happily easy to retrieve and get out of the paths of sea creatures and birds. But the job is endless. Satisfying, because removing trash is a satisfying task. But, endless. So, I won't stop!

It's hard not to enjoy yourself on a beautiful day like today!

Those two blueish weird things sticking up are Portuguese Men O War - part of the challenge was picking up trash and avoiding them!

4 pounds of mostly little plastic trash. 118 bottle caps.

6 pounds of trash from Kiplinger Reserve - a lot of bottles and cans. Why is it touching my body? I dunno. I was already dirty.

A horrible example of littering. Don't do this. But a great example of trash that's easy to retrieve.

Hippo Sak trash bags - made from plants! Still so strong!

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