community partners

Keep Golden Isles Beautiful Executive Director Lea King-Badyna and Fort Frederica National Park Site Manager Steve Theus check out one of the trash and recycling bins at the park Tuesday. A community partnership between the park and KGIB to assist with garbage and litter collection during the current government shutdown.

Fort Frederica has only one man standing, but the national monument on St. Simons Island has not fallen to the pressures brought to bear from Washington, D.C.

Fear not, Steve Theus, the cavalry is on the way. Keep Golden Isles Beautiful is seeking volunteers to help with cleanup at Fort Frederica National Monument, as well as the national Bloody Marsh Battle Site.

Both Fort Frederica, at 6515 Frederica Road, and the Bloody Marsh Battle Site park, located in the bend on Old Demere Road, have managed to remain open to the public despite the government shutdown. With the federally-employed staff who work the two sites home on furlough until the budget dispute between President Trump and Congress is worked out, site manager Theus alone is performing the basic minimum work necessary to keep the gates open to the public he serves.

That is why Lea King-Badyna of Keep Golden Isles Beautiful decided to lend a hand. The nonprofit organization is seeking volunteers to help with basic cleanup at the two sites, she said. The volunteers’ efforts would include emptying trash cans and litter patrols on the grounds at both locations, she said. KGIB will provide gloves and trash bags.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said King-Badyna, executive Director of KGIB. “They’re our neighbors and this is our community. We’re all in this together.”

Theus welcomes the offer of assistance from KGIB and, by extension, the public. Fort Frederica’s gift shop, museum and restrooms have been closed since the shutdown on Dec. 22. Theus has remained at his post, unpaid, doing what is necessary to keep both locations open.

“We are very thankful for the support and help that Keep Golden Isles Beautiful has offered,” Theus said. “The work that they are going to perform will make sure that Fort Frederica National Monument will remain a clean and beautiful place to enjoy.”

Fort Frederica is the site of the British settlement established in 1736 in conjunction with the founding of the Colony of Georgia by Gen. James Oglethorpe. Some ramparts from the fort remain standing and archaeological expeditions at the site have revealed various numerous homes and trade shops that made up the colonial community.

Bloody Marsh Battle Site National Monument is believed to be the grounds where Oglethorpe’s forces defeated invading Spanish forces, ending Spain’s attempts at colonizing north of Florida. The site consists of shaded parking, a gazebo, historical plaques and an overlook of the marsh that is a favorite of working folks on their lunch hour and other visitors. No staff is on site, but its trash is maintained by the Fort Frederica park service.

King-Badyna said volunteers would concentrate mostly on ensuring that trash cans at each location are empty and fresh bags inserted in each. KGIB would ask any volunteers to conduct brief litter patrols. KGIB consists of King-Badyna and her staff of one, assistant Christy Trowbridge. The organization promotes anti-litter and recycling campaigns in the community, as well as initiatives to be better stewards of our environment.

“We are going to be assisting Fort Frederica and Bloody Marsh with garbage removal and litter collection throughout the duration of the shutdown, and we need volunteers to help us,” King-Badyna said. “It will be a matter of emptying the cans when they are full and placing it in the dumpster at Fort Frederica. We will ask volunteers to then just go and scan the area and see if there is any litter on the grounds that needs attention.”

KGIB is an affiliate of the nationally-recognized Keep America Beautiful national organization. The organization and its affiliates are reaching out across the country with an offer to lend a hand at national parks and monuments across the nation.

To volunteer in the local KGIB effort, call 912-279-1490 or email info.kbgib@gmail.com.

More from this section

VaCountess Johnson beamed behind the counter, scanning the room. Men and women clad in coats settled into chairs clutching steaming cups of coffee. All were grateful to have escaped the frigid temperatures outdoors.