More than 200 Realtors, friends, family members and members of the public gathered at 11 different clean-up sites throughout Northeast Florida to take part in NEFAR’s Second Annual Clean-up Northeast Florida Waterways event on July 23.
This year’s event invited volunteers from the community to work alongside members of NEFAR for the first time, and the large-scale clean-up effort rid areas of the St. Johns River, Intercoastal Waterway and beaches in Northeast Florida of more than 2,000 pounds of unsightly trash and debris.
The event was inspired by Florida Realtors’ month-long Clean-up Florida’s Waterways initiative, which encourages members of the Florida Realtor community to clean up lakes, beaches, rivers, creeks and streams throughout the Sunshine State during the month of July.
Participants in the clean-up effort worked hard to rid the region’s waterways of more than 2,000 pounds of debris, including 10 car tires that were pulled from the St. Johns River.
“It was enough to fill a 12-cubic yard truck to the brim,” said Michael Getka of JDog Junk Removal & Hauling, who voluntarily collected the trash bags from the clean-up sites.
More than 100 celebrated their hard work at a four-hour after-party sponsored by the NEFAR Community Affairs Task Force at Veterans United Craft Brewery.
“We are exceptionally proud of the efforts of the NEFAR Realtor and affiliate members who, along with volunteers from the public, gave back to the Northeast Florida community in such a big way by cleaning up its local waterways,” said 2022 NEFAR President Mark Rosener. “Hundreds of volunteers spent several hours on Saturday morning in the hot Florida sun picking up trash from boat ramps, the beaches, and even some hard-to-reach islands in the St. Johns River. This is just one example of how Realtors care for and give back to their community.”
The Realtor-led clean-up crews tackled trash located at nine shoreline sites — four at the beaches and five at boat ramps that feed into the St. Johns River. Included among the clean-up sites were the Wayne Stevens Boat Ramp in Ortega, the Bert Maxwell Boat Ramp on the Northside, the Sidney J. Gefen Riverwalk Park, the Main Street Boat Ramp and Old Ferry Boat Ramp in Middleburg, the beach near Jacksonville Beach SeaWalk Pavilion, Mickler’s Landing in Ponte Vedra, the beach near Beaches Town Center and the beach near St. Augustine Pier.
A gathering of more than 60 Realtors and their friends met at Lions’ Club Boat Ramp in Arlington to board four pontoon vessels to reach uninhabited shorelines and trash dumped in the river. They joined several private boaters who followed along to help clean up.
In Putnam County, another boat convoy consisting of three Realtor families departed from Crystal Cove Marina in Palatka to pick up trash.
And seven Realtor volunteers led by Cherya Cavanaugh of Keller Williams Atlantic Partners boarded a powerboat to clean up the Intercoastal Waterway from Ponte Vedra to St. Augustine.
Sponsoring the event were Watson Realty Corporation, Watson Title, Watson Mortgage, realMLS, Golden Dog Title & Trust, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling, Jax Boat Rentals, Current Problems and Lowes.
Clean-up site sponsors included Max Home Inspections, Landmark Title, Academy Mortgage, Slate Real Estate, Future Home Loans, J. Riley Williams PLC, NEFAR’s Southwest Area Council and NEFAR’s Beaches Area Council.
Donating prizes for the raffle were Coast Conservation Association; Tiea Vincent with RoundTable Property Management; Westbank Group of Watson Realty Corp.; NEFAR, who offered lock boxes; and realMLS, who donated MLS dues for a year.
After the event, more than 100 volunteers gathered at Veterans United Craft Brewery to celebrate their efforts. More than $700 was raised from a raffle and will be donated to a coastal conservation project in Northeast Florida.
This year’s event was considerably larger in scope and better attended than last year’s when approximately 60 NEFAR members took part, collecting more than 1,500 pounds of trash.
“This was the largest turnout we’ve ever had,” said NEFAR Community Affairs Task Force member Mark Feagle, who helped organize the event. “It is our hope that we can expand it even further next year.”
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