Teamwork in Tate’s Hell

By Cameron Baxley

March 16, 2024-Apalachicola Riverkeeper combined forces with the Forest Service and the local community  for a morning clean-up of our natural habitat. Taking on the 212,000 acres of Tate’s Hell Forest is a tall order for a clean-up event, but we made a decent dent. The predominant hydrologic feature within the forest is Tate’s Hell Swamp, which drains toward the Apalachicola River and Bay. Tate’s Hell Forest is an important part of protecting our watershed from severe runoff and filtering water.

Staff and volunteers organized into different teams to spread out over Tate’s Hell Forest with the goal to collect and properly dispose of trash. As the saying goes, many hands make light work. That applies here, but a new saying was also adopted, “Many Forest Service ATVs, trucks and trailers make clean-ups a lot easier.”  It was a huge help to have added resources the Forest Service could provide to help transport volunteers as well as their trashy finds. Florida Fish and Wildlife also volunteered staff and equipment to support this effort.

After a half day of tackling trash, the teams reunited to pass around a bottle of hand sanitizer, share some cold beverages, and enjoy food fresh off the grill. A big thank you to the 25+ people who came out for the event and dedicated a few hours to protecting the forest and floodplain that feeds into Apalachicola River and Bay. Apalachicola Riverkeeper is looking forward to continuing this partnership for future events.

Cameron Baxley is Riverkeeper at Apalachicola Riverkeeper. She can be reached at [email protected]

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