The Great Island Clean-Up, held Saturday, April 9th on San Juan Island, was by all measures a huge success! A joint project sponsored by Soroptimists of Friday Harbor,Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, the Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the San Juans, Girls and Boy Scouts, the event drew over 200 volunteers who picked up over 5,000 pounds of trash from local beaches, county roads, and the town streets. Though the island appears relatively clean compared to most American cities, those of us who see it every day were feeling the weight of this staggering amount of roadside litter.
After spending the day at South Beach, Jana Marks, with Friends of the San Juans, wrote, “I had a beautiful day down at the south end. And, I was full of good feelings as I drove back into town; everything really did look nice. It was so noticeable NOT seeing all those little bits of flotsam and jetsam. I could practically feel the island shake her hair out and give a sign of gratitude – she felt so good.”
Participants felt good too as it was so rewarding to see the results of our labor. In addition to the individuals who signed up to pick up on the roads in front of their homes, numerous groups volunteered to tackle the main roads and beaches, including Ace Hardware, Bureau of Land Management, Cutthroats, Friday Harbor Labs, Legion Auxiliary, Leos, Lutheran Church, National Park Service, Ravenhill Construction, Spring Street International School, San Juan County Land Bank, Trash Masters, and Washington State Ferries employees.
Business support came from Ace Hardware, Browne’s Home Center, Coho Restaurant, Harrison House Suites, King’s Market, Market Place, and Tucker House Inn, with equipment loans from Centurylink, OPALCO, Town of Friday Harbor, and San Juan County.
Even some of our inn guests helped out, picking up those minute pieces of plastic on South Beach that can be so devastating to marine life. Clearly the value of our precious eco system is recognized by visitors as well as residents.
Now flush with the feel-good vibes of giving back to the community, organizers are hankering to keep that pristine look, and are already talking about “the next time.”