JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of volunteers spanned out across the city of Jacksonville Saturday to clean up trash and debris near the St. Johns River.
It’s part of an annual event called the St. Johns River Celebration organized by the City of Jacksonville and Keep Jacksonville Clean.
While people played soccer at Memorial Park, others rolled up their sleeves, put on gloves, grabbed trash bags and collected garbage, including volunteer Denise Jump.
"The river is the whole reason we have a city. Everything is built around the city. We need to appreciate it and take care of it," Jump said.
Others say the cleanup is needed.
"There’s a lot of trash and it needs to get picked up, along with fishing wire. A lot of that was picked up today," said volunteer Star Bradshaw. "I get out as much as I can in my neighborhood and clean up my neighborhood because it starts at home.
More than 30 sites across the city and several groups participated to pick up litter and debris from parks, neighborhoods and boat ramps. The Timucuan Park Foundation is one group leading cleanups at three locations, Ft. Caroline National Memorial, Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, and Reddie Point Preserve.
“It’s a change for everyone to be involved in helping make Jacksonville more beautiful,” said Felicia Boyd, program and outreach director for the Timucuan Parks Foundation. She adds that over the years, they’ve found everything from plastic to tires at Reddie Point Preserve.
Boyd said it’s important to remove the debris and trash across the city to protect marine life and the environment.
“We’ve experienced a lot of hurricanes and hurricane damage,” Boyd explained. “So keeping our ecosystems clean and healthy helps protect the rest of the city.”