Last Friday, March 11th, ten volunteers from Beryl Project Engineering participated in a charity cleanup at the Florida Conservation and Technology Center near Apollo Beach. This area is between the Manatee Viewing Center and the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center. Their goal was to use trash grabbers and bags to pick up and collect debris they found along the entrance in order to prevent it from ever reaching any of Florida’s waterways and wildlife.
Participants were asked to conduct their search along Dickman Road. This road runs directly along with the Florida Aquarium’s conservation centers. Volunteers got to work alongside the active road adorned with brightly colored vests and their trash grabbers.
Their mission to recover any and all debris was a great success, as volunteers helped to remove a total of 219.4 pounds of debris that was found along the adopted highway. The initiative upheld two of The Florida Aquarium’s conservation goals – the reduction of single-use plastics that reach our waterways and habitat maintenance.
Volunteers were also given a tour through some of the facilities on the premises. This includes the Florida Aquarium Turtle Rehabilitation Center that is next to the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center. Beryl participants in the volunteer cleanup had the opportunity to observe and learn about the inner workings of the rehabilitation center and see some of the sea turtles who currently reside there! The volunteers witnessed some of the important processes that the rehabilitated sea turtles undergo at the deep-dive foraging pool. This includes ascertaining the animal’s ability to forage for live food. Release candidates must have the ability to forage for food at depth before they can be released back into the wild.
The facilities at the rehabilitation center maintain four independently filtered rehabilitation pools that are subdivided to house multiple turtles. Each pool consists of underwater windows which allow the volunteers to view the animals in their care.
A well-deserved lunch followed after a hard day’s work providing assistance to some of Florida’s most important conservation and rehabilitation centers. Cleanups like this one help to prevent plastics and other recyclable debris from reaching the inhabitants of Florida’s habitats and waterways.
Beryl Project Engineering is a proud sponsor of the Sea Turtle projects at the Florida Aquarium and Marine Science Center donating 2% of profits towards Sea Turtle rehabilitation and research. Staff at Beryl will be regularly participating in future charity events with the Florida Aquarium as well as participate in any other future volunteering opportunities.
It is important for Beryl Project Engineering to give back to the community that we live in and to productively support great organizations like the Florida Aquarium that strive to protect the environment and the inhabitants we share it with.
By Matthew Miceli