FORT MYERS BEACH
Southwest Florida beaches are still recovering after Hurricane Ian, especially on the barrier islands.
On Sunday, Keep Lee County Beautiful is teaming up with Tunaskin and other local organizations for a beach cleanup on Fort Myers Beach. More than 300 people pre-registered to help.
Tunaskin is an aquatic apparel store based out of Fort Myers Beach and has worked alongside Keep Lee County Beautiful before.
Pre-registered participants will receive a Tunaskin Performance event shirt, and clean-up supplies will be provided.
Mid-Island Watersports will also supply multiple support staff and vehicles with front-end loaders and flat-bed trailers to make recovery and trash pickup easier.
Volunteers met at Santini Plaza Sunday morning to check in, pick up supplies, and start cleaning up the south Fort Myers Beach area across from the plaza.
Tisha Bayne, the communications coordinator with Keep Lee County Beautiful, said they’re a volunteer-based organization that’s been around for more than 30 years. She said this might be many people’s first time seeing Fort Myers Beach in person since the storm.
“I think all of us have seen it on the news and, you know, on social media, so it is very different when you are actually down there, and you see it. So that is emotional, for sure. I think it was when we were doing this cleanup in this critical wildlife area. Which you know, that is emotional too because we want to be able to clean the area and get rid of all this trash and debris to help protect the wildlife, protect the environment, protect the mangroves,” said Bayne.
Bayne said volunteers with Keep Lee County Beautiful had done so many cleanups in the past that it’s hard to see the areas they’ve been cleaning for 30 years and what they look like now. She said a lot of work is ahead of them, but everyone is coming together.
“We’re just one piece of all these different organizations that are trying to clean it up. So, then we can welcome people back to the beach, the water is getting better, you know, the beach is getting better. I know it will. Eventually all the beaches will be open officially to the public. And that’s what we want. I mean, I think that’s what all the residents and visitors want,” Bayne said.