We had a large turnout for our Earth Day project at Siesta Key Beach. Thank you so much to Brenda Canales at Sarasota County Parks and Recreation for helping put together this great opportunity for so many volunteers. Our volunteers were able to begin to understand the impact humans have on marine life by listening to and participating in a discussion on marine debris by Florida Sea Grant Agent, Armando Ubeda. His talk was very informative and even helped prepare the volunteers for what they would be looking for as they cleaned up Siesta Beach. After his lesson, we headed out to the beach, park areas, and parking lot for trash. Armed with buckets, bags and gloves, the volunteers collected and then sorted through their findings so the items could be cataloged. As the buckets filled up, it was amazing to see how many cigarette butts, food wrappers, balloon remnants, bottle caps and other items were cluttering up the natural beauty of our park. Our student volunteers had a newfound respect for taking care of our environment as well as a new outlook on plastic use. My daughters have even requested we begin bringing our own cups to Starbucks and start carrying reusable straws in our car so we are always ready to focus on “reducing and reusing” like Mr. Ubeda suggested.