This year’s Marsh Madness litter cleanup initiative is the biggest yet, and Keep Golden Isles Beautiful Executive Director Lea King-Badyna is calling on the community to help make it happen.
“It’s a big endeavor and we really, really, really need the community to help us by volunteering,” said King- Badyna.
Marsh Madness is an annual event hosted by Keep Golden Isles Beautiful and sponsored by local businesses, nonprofits and government agencies. This year, KGIB has 31 cleanup opportunities scheduled across 24 days in March, rain or shine. To see the full calendar, as well as conditions at each location, visit kgib.org/events.
Some locations are muddier than others and will likely mean getting dirty. Some require climbing up slopes or are close to roadsides. King-Badyna said some of the cleanups in rough spots will be limited to adult participation. KGIB asks people with kayaks to attend some, like the cleanup on March 2 at Palmetto Cemetery, to help get trash out of the water.
She recommended wearing closed-toes shoes and, if willing, come ready to get muddy.
“We want folks to come out and get muddy with us and make a difference,” King-Badyna said.
Anyone should be able to participate in at least one, she said. Taking part in three cleanups earns one a T-shirt, attend five and get a water bottle, she said.
“With just a two-person staff we can’t be at all of them, and volunteers extend our reach into the community so we can have more dates, times locations,” King-Badyna said.
Marsh Madness is part of a nationwide effort at the turn of the winter season into spring to get people out and cleaning up litter in the community. Last year, the event included 27 cleanup opportunities and volunteers pulled out 8.6 tons of trash from the marsh.
“We wanted to do something that was going to be unique to our area. We have the salt marshes, and we wanted to play off March Madness,” said King- Badyna.
The Georgia coast is home to one-third of the remaining salt marsh on the East Coast, she said. Aside from their beauty, salt marshes serve as food sources and nurseries for a wide range of marine life, from shrimp and blue crab to many varieties of fish.
That’s why, aside from simply maintaining a clean community, it’s important for Georgians to take responsibility for the coastal environment.