More than 200 realtors, friends, family and members of the public gathered at 11 different cleanup sites in Northeast Florida to participate in the second annual Northeast Florida Waterways Cleanup event. Florida from NEFAR on July 23.
This year’s event invited community volunteers to work alongside NEFAR members for the first time, and the large-scale cleanup effort of cleared areas of the St. Johns River, Intercoastal Waterway and Northeast Florida beaches from over 2,000 pounds of unsightly trash and debris.
The event was inspired by Florida Realtors’ month-long Clean-up Florida’s Waterways initiative, which encourages members of the Florida Realtor community to clean up lakes, beaches, rivers, creeks and streams throughout the Sunshine State during the month of July.
Participants in the cleanup effort worked hard to clear the area’s waterways of more than 2,000 pounds of debris, including 10 car tires that were pulled from the St. Johns River.
“That was enough to fill a 12 cubic yard truck to the brim,” said Michael Getka of JDog Junk Removal & Hauling, who voluntarily collected trash bags from cleanup sites.
More than 100 people celebrated their hard work at a four-hour after-party sponsored by the NEFAR Community Affairs Task Force at the Veterans United Craft Brewery.
“We are exceptionally proud of the efforts of NEFAR Realtor and Affiliate Members who, along with volunteers from the public, have given back to the Northeast Florida community in such a big way by cleaning up its local waterways” , said NEFAR 2022 Chair Mark Rosener. . “Hundreds of volunteers spent several hours Saturday morning in the hot Florida sun picking up trash from boat ramps, beaches and even some hard-to-reach islands in the St. Johns River. This is just one example of how real estate agents care about their community and make it worthwhile. »
Cleanup crews led by the estate agent tackled litter located at nine waterfront sites – four on beaches and five on boat launches that flow into the St. Johns River. Among the cleanup sites were the Wayne Stevens boat launch in Ortega, the Bert Maxwell boat launch on the North Side, the Sidney J. Gefen Riverwalk park, the boat launch from Main Street and Old Ferry Boat Ramp in Middleburg, the beach near Jacksonville Beach SeaWalk Pavilion, Mickler’s Landing in Ponte Vedra, the beach near Downtown Beaches, and the beach near St. Augustine Pier.
A gathering of more than 60 real estate agents and their friends gathered at the Lions’ Club boat launch in Arlington to board four pontoons to reach uninhabited shores and litter dumped in the river . They joined several private boaters who followed to help clean up.
In Putnam County, another boat convoy made up of three families of real estate agents set off from Crystal Cove Marina in Palatka to pick up trash.
And seven volunteer real estate agents led by Cherya Cavanaugh of Keller Williams Atlantic Partners boarded a motorboat to clean up the intercoastal waterway from Ponte Vedra to St. Augustine.
Sponsors for the event were Watson Realty Corporation, Watson Title, Watson Mortgage, realMLS, Golden Dog Title & Trust, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling, Jax Boat Rentals, Current Problems and Lowes.
Cleanup site sponsors included Max Home Inspections, Landmark Title, Academy Mortgage, Slate Real Estate, Future Home Loans, J. Riley Williams PLC, NEFAR’s Southwest Area Council and NEFAR’s Beaches Area Council.
Prize donations for the raffle were Coast Conservation Association; Tiea Vincent with RoundTable Property Management; Westbank Group of Watson Realty Corp.; NEFAR, which donated safes; and realMLS, which donated MLS dues for one year.
After the event, more than 100 volunteers gathered at the Veterans United Craft Brewery to celebrate their efforts. Over $700 was raised through a raffle and will be donated to a coastal conservation project in northeast Florida.
This year’s event was considerably larger and busier than last year, when approximately 60 NEFAR members attended, collecting over 1,500 pounds of trash.
“It was the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” said Mark Feagle, a member of NEFAR’s Community Affairs Working Group, which helped organize the event. “We hope to be able to expand it even more next year.”