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Great American Cleanup adapts, changes and forges ahead

March 27, 2020
By ANN O'PHELAN - Keep Lee County Beautiful (Special to The Breeze) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Many in Southwest Florida look forward to the annual Great American Cleanup that is set in motion through Keep Lee County Beautiful. It's an event that has proven to be a smashing success, year after year. In fact, in 2019, the 1,262 GAC volunteers helped collect over 32,000 pounds of trash and debris from our local shorelines, waterways, roadsides and parks.

While the event as we know it, with massive volunteers meeting at specific times and places, this year, 2020, it's going to be held differently, in a way that is more fitting to the issues at hand with the COVID-19 virus.

The Great American Cleanup is now scheduled for the entire month of April, instead of just April 25, a date that was previously on the calendar. (Registration closed. Event canceled. Sites listed for the event are closed). Instead, the focus is on smaller events that will be held throughout the month. Events that will be hosted and organized by those who want to Keep Lee County Beautiful through the formation of their own small groups or lone efforts.

The group sizes could be up to 10 volunteers who already know each other and frequently interact with one another. For example, a family, a group of friends, or members of a club could form a group. Groups of larger sizes could be split into two or more groups that head out and cover different areas. Clean-ups can include neighborhood streets, vacant lots, parks, waterways and more.

Working to Keep Lee County Beautiful is a good way to do something constructive during these challenging times, a good reason to get out of the house and a great way to get some exercise.

If you are interested in working in a group effort during the month of April, Keep Lee County Beautiful will be happy to help you coordinate it. They would also love to hear how your efforts went, so be sure to take pictures and document where you worked and even record some information about what you collected. This can be done casually, such as writing down, "three big garbage bags full" or can be done in a more detailed fashion.

Fact Box

How to help Keep Lee County Beautiful in 2020

* Organize a group of 10 or less.

* Figure out meeting times, dates and places.

* Gather necessary materials, such as trash bags, a pick-up stick, gloves and a safety vest.

* Clean up only as much as you can safely throw away or recycle.

* Pick up only what you are comfortable picking up.

* Sort litter from recycling.

* Properly dispose.

* Record what you picked up and take pictures.

* Send the information to

NOTE: Always follow the advice of the CDC beforehand. Even the morning of your event as things change quickly. Find out more at

When completed, send a few pictures and the data that you collected from your event to share on the Keep Lee County Beautiful social media sites. This content can be sent to Upon receipt, we will then let others know about the positive impact you made on our environment!

"Thank you for your support and dedication in protecting our environment during these difficult times," from the staff at Keep Lee County Beautiful.

Keep Lee County Beautiful, Inc., an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire, educate, and engage the Lee County community in improving, beautifying, and protecting our environment. Since 1989, Keep Lee County Beautiful has formed partnerships with local governments, corporations, schools, and neighborhood organizations to engage individuals and provide opportunities to enhance the community through volunteer participation. To get involved, please call 239-334-3488 or visit



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