July 8, 2022- With festivities in Eastpoint, Carrabelle, Apalachicola and St. George Island, Franklin County takes its Fourth of July celebrations seriously. Attending a municipal show is a memorable way to celebrate Independence Day. Not only does it make sure your friends and family keep all their fingers and toes from DIY pyrotechnics gone wrong, it’s also safer for critical species habitat. Shorebird populations such as the Snowy Plover and Oyster Catcher have declined last over the last decade with only around 250 nesting pairs left in the state. With four nights of fireworks, animals like sea turtles and shorebirds get confused and scared and can abandon their eggs or young. Summer is nesting season, and it’s their final chance to raise and care for those babies that we hope to see as adults next year.
Photos by Michael Ferrara were taken outside posted areas or while conducting surveys under a research permit while minimizing disturbance.
Another way to help protect our beaches, especially for endangered sea turtles, is to make sure to pick up all beach equipment and trash. Keep beaches clean, flat and dark after sunset. Longtime “Trash Patrol” organizer Ada Long leads 3 major area cleanups: a July 5th cleanup, post- SGI chili cook off, and the International Coastal Cleanup. This year, a volunteer crew of 24 people joined Ada to brave the hot weather and collect trash on St. George Island.
Ada reports that, “They collected over 26 bags of trash. The bad news is that the amount of litter was larger than usual with the expected bottles, cans, fireworks, plastic wrappers, and ice bags. But the good news is that, according to Val Tyll, there were far fewer straws than usual and only one mask. Also, Daren Hoffman and his two scouts found $2 and a bag of beach toys that they will donate to the church.
The island is looking good again thanks to these generous volunteers, with special thanks to indispensable volunteer JP Loesch of Affordable Island Maintenance and to Jo Ellen Pearman, magnificent and inimitable photographer .”
Join a regional Clean Up and the September International Clean Up.
Cameron Baxley is Director of Outreach and Advocacy at Apalachicola Riverkeeper. She is kayaking the entirety of the Apalachicola River with the RiverTrek 2022 team in October.