On Saturday, November 19 from 7 am to 1 pm, volunteers will organize to help clean and spruce the streets and shorelines of Stock Island. This is a joint effort between I Love Stock Island, Inc, a new non-profit initiative, and the County, City, Waste Management and local businesses, neighborhoods and area civic and church groups. Volunteers will meet at 7 am for check-in and instructions at either the Key West Botanical Gardens for land based or Hurricane Hole Marina for shoreline.
Volunteers will be given t-shirts and assignments. Tools and supplies will be available and landscaping materials will be allocated. Land groups will mobilize throughout the community to clean right-of-way’s, reduce weeds, dispose of bulky trash items and do plantings. Individual residents of Stock Island are encouraged to clean up their own homes and pile trash at the curb for pickup. Bulk waste pick up will begin Monday. Elderly and infirmed residents may call in advance to request special assistance. Shore groups will employ kayaks, paddleboards and boats to bag trash from the mangroves that ring the island.
Reef Relief, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to improving and protecting our coral reef ecosystem, will coordinate the coastal cleanup of our Stock Island shores. Mill McCleary, Executive Program Director, hopes to have a record turnout. “We have about 150 kayaks and paddleboards available for volunteers to use,” he said. “They will paddle out with trash bags and support boats will come and pick them up when they’re full. It’s a great way to help the community but have fun at the same time.”
Deputy David Lariz, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, is helping spearhead the land cleanup. He, along with other officers and crews have been working toward the effort for weeks and big improvements are already evident in the neighborhoods. “It’s amazing how many people have come forward to volunteer and work together to make this happen,” he said. “We want to create a safe environment for neighbors to meetup and kids to play.”
I Love Stock Island Board President, Peter Batty Sr. explained it’s about creating pride in place in the community. “When your neighborhood looks good it makes you feel good.”
Part of the issue on Stock Island may be lack of information. Residents should be aware that a simple phone call to Waste Management (Monroe County’s service provider) can solve most bulk waste issues. “We take furniture, mattresses, appliances, air conditioners, car tires (without rims), BBQ grills (no propane tanks), bicycles and rolled up carpeting by request at 305-296-8297,” explained Greg Sullivan, Waste Management Senior District Manager. “Residents should separate metal items, place everything neatly at curb or road side and remember not to obstruct traffic or place the items under power lines.”
The I Love Stock Island City Wide Cleanup is in partnership with City of Key West’s solid waste and recycling program, Monroe County Household/Hazardous Waste Management, Planning & Environmental Resources and involving Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Key West Police Department, Key West Recycles, the City of Key West – Preserve Island Life Campaign, Waste Management, USCG Volunteers, FWC, Reef Relief, SUP Dawg! Lazy Dog Paddle Shack Key West, Dream Catcher Charters, Hurricane Hole Key West, Kayak Kings of Key West, Southernmost Coconut Castaways, Sunset Watersports, Key Iron Works, Keys to be the Change(KWHS), Lower Keys Medical Center, Sup Key West, Totally Stroked, Honu Charters, Choice Storage Centers and Florida Keys Media.
As part of America Recycles Day, the City of Key West is hosting a Recycle Fair and Art Contest in coordination with the cleanup at the Botanical Gardens from 10 am to 2 pm. The event will feature exhibit booths with local environmental groups and artists who work with recycled and reused materials, kid’s activities and concessions. There will also be a recycled goods drop-off accepting: Cell phones and small ipads for the Key West Montessori Charter School Ecology Club; cigarette waste (butts, cellophane, ashes in ziplock bags only) for Teracycle; books, blankets and towels for the Florida Keys SPCA; canned goods and clothing for Star of the Sea Outreach Mission; art supplies for the schools; travel toiletries for Samuels House; used cooking oil from restaurants for Marathon Biodiesel.
The final planning meeting for the Take Stock in the Rock cleanup will be held November 15 at 5:30 pm at the Chickee Hut at Stock Island Marina Village on Shrimp Road. Anyone interested in helping with the Island-wide cleanup or the Festival is invited to attend. Otherwise Individuals, groups, businesses, civic organizations are welcome to register online at www.ILoveStockIsland or show up on the 19th. The cleanup is rain or shine and participants should dress for their task. Trash bags, gloves and grabbers are provided but volunteers may bring their own tools. Donations are appreciated.
How you can help…
1. Sign up to volunteer…we’re recruiting
* Residents & local businesses — sign up to assist with your immediate Stock Island neighborhood
* Area civic organizations & clubs
* Church groups
* School groups
* Military organizations
* Marine advocates
* Anyone interested in cleaning up and making Stock Island more beautiful
2. Large, bulky items? Don’t let them sit on the curb. Call Waste Management @ 305-296-8297 to pick it up for FREE. All you have to do is schedule it.
3. Let us know about any area you think should be beautified– mowing, fence painting (murals, too), flowers planted, etc. or residents, particularly seniors, that might need a little extra up
4. Donate to the cause. We need supplies, paint, landscaping materials, etc. to make this project work. Of course, your dollars are always appreciated.
Individuals, groups, businesses, civic organizations are welcome to register online or show up. Rain/Shine. Dress for your task. BYO tools. Trash bags, gloves and grabbers are provided. Donations appreciated.
About I Love Stock Island Initiative
The new I Love Stock Island Initiative is a not-for-profit (status pending) organization “Dedicated to preserving the cultural history of Stock Island by promoting its healthy future through outreach, marketing and special events to make our community a better place to live, work and play.” The organization operates under the guidance of a board of directors comprised of community members who care about and have a vested interest in improving Stock island.
A weekend festival is being planned November 25-27th to highlight the Island’s rich heritage and cultural diversity by showcasing the culinary, entertainment, artistic and recreation options Stock Island has to offer. Not limited to any one specific venue or happening, guests are invited to experience three full days of free & ticketed events. The Festival will host four ‘Signature Events’ including a Community Fish Fry, Discover Stock Island, Taste of Stock Island and the Stock, Rock and Roll Brunch Bike Ride along with numerous events by local businesses.
For more information, visit the website at www.ILoveStockIsland.org or call Sean Krikorian at 573.619.2200.