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Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017
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Volunteers pitch in to clean Bayshore after Gasparilla

TAMPA - Most of the hundreds of thousands of Garparilla revelers took home plenty of beads and fond – if not foggy – memories of the pirate invasion and parade Saturday. But what many didn't take with them was the trash. While city crews swept along Bayshore Boulevard after the parade finished, collecting most of what they could, there remained scattered debris on Sunday, the detritus of Tampa's signature celebration along the city's signature street. On Sunday afternoon, well over 100 volunteers helped spruce up Bayshore Boulevard a day after Gasparilla. Each was handed a pair of rubber gloves, a black garbage bag for trash and a blue one for recyclables; a bottle or two of water and a neon lime-green vest. And out they went. Focusing on Bayshore between Ballast Point and Howard Avenue, the volunteers stooped to bag broken strings of beads, plastic bags, crushed red Solo cups and zip ties. The idea was to get the trash before it blows into the Hillsborough Bay, where a shiny bauble or a clear plastic bag can be fatal to a fish or a sea turtle.
The effort was spearheaded by The Florida Aquarium and Ye Mystic Krewe of the Nautilus along with the Tampa Bay Green Consortium and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. "Have fun," said Adam Duff, manager of volunteer services with the aquarium, to a group of young women who showed up at the staging area on Bay to Bay and Bayshore, "and go as long as you want." He said volunteers were sent north and south along Bayshore, filling bags and leaving them on the side of the road for trucks to pick up later. "It's a great day," he said. "It's a feel-good project and it's great for the community." He said 125 volunteers showed up last year and more were expected this year. The Ye Mystic Krewe of the Nautilus started the volunteer post-Gasparilla clean-up three years ago. "We had nine people," said Christine Fisher, environmental chair of the Krewe and a volunteer at the aquarium. The number grew as word passed through various social networks. In her green vest, volunteer Carol Conn said the Krewe, of which she is a member, supports environmental protection. "We're into recycling," she said, "and all this helps the environment."

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