Students from Dr. Edward L. Whigham Elementary School in Cutler Bay were part of a group of more than 160 volunteers participating in the third annual World Wetlands Day Community Trash Clean Up on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Taking place at the coastal area along Black Point Marina, the students were joined by a number of their teachers, members of Flotilla 61 United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, FSO-MS Sea Partners and others to collect more than 825 pounds of marine debris, working from 9 a.m. until noon.
The youngsters got involved in the community project that focuses on environmental awareness as well as the cleanup because of the efforts of two WES teachers, Adrian Delesdernier and Susie Cummings, who were awarded grants from Youth Service America and the State Farm Good Neighbors Student Achievement Grant program to promote a “Semester of Service” at the school.
Dream in Green and the Green Schools Challenge also supported the project. The Officer Snook Water Protection program and Ellie Mills State Farm Office of Cutler Bay donated gifts for the volunteers.
Chris Johnson, Al Juliachs, Albert “AJ” Juliachs and Louis Cusano, all officers from Flotilla 61 United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, FSO-MS Sea Partners, were onsite promoting environmental protection as well as safe boating.
It was the third year for many students to participate. As part of their Semester of Service project the students will be analyzing the types of garbage collected and creating an educational awareness plan
“As teachers, the best gift we can give is to teach students that they have the power to make a difference in their community and their world,” Delesdernier said.
Tamyra McCalister, a fifth grade student who has participated at all three events, said she was determined to get every last piece of trash.
“The cleanup is important because the animals of Biscayne Bay don’t deserve to be swimming in trash,” McCalister said.