Volunteers from the U.S. Forest Service joined forces with Leon County, Florida residents recently to participate in the county’s 17th annual Super-Clean Sweep cleanup activities which included parts of the Apalachicola National Forest.
The county-wide event was part of the “Keep Tallahassee Leon County Beautiful” program which drew nearly 100 volunteers from county and city agencies, local organizations and local citizens.
“Illegal dumping continues to be a problem in the forest. We go in each year with teams of volunteers and clean up “hot spots” identified by the Forest Service, Leon County Sheriff’s Department, and forest user groups,” said community volunteer Sharon Gray.
Over the years, several organizations have signed on to help sponsor the event including Southern Trail Riders, Tallahassee Off Road Club, Capital City Jeepers and Forest Edge Neighborhood, Leon County Public Works, Solid Waste Division and Recycling, and the Leon County Sheriff’s Department.
The volunteers bagged trash, in addition to collecting everything from tires to electronics. Leon County Solid Waste Division, another sponsor of the event, hauled away tons of debris.
“In previous years we have designated a roll-off container specifically for metal. Anything metal retrieved from the forest is sold. This year, very little metal was picked up. A sign of the times?” said Gray.
Recreation Technician Sherry Gaston, who has participated in the event since 2006, volunteered along with her son. “I participate because I hope to make a difference. If people see the area cleaned up, maybe they won’t consciously dump in the forest,” said Gaston.
This is the fourth year in a row that Reya Williams, an information receptionist, has volunteered for the cleanup. “My hope is that this brings awareness to the issue of illegal dumping and littering in our forest,” said Williams. “I enjoy coming out every year to help make Leon County and the forest a cleaner, better place.”