ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The Treasure Island Beach ambassador behind the “Hole Patrol” in Pinellas County is providing “tickets” for a post-Fourth of July cleanup.
Carrie Auerbach is an ambassador for Treasure Island Adopt-A-Beach and runs the Facebook page. She lives only 2 miles from the beach and goes every day to pick up trash. That’s how the page initially got started.
“We pick up trash after holidays. We work with the city and we schedule our holiday pickups just to keep the beach clean,” Auerbach explained.
The next cleanup for any volunteers interested is July 5, which is near the anniversary of when Auerbach’s Facebook page began.
“I started the Adopt A Beach Facebook page right after Fourth of July last year. My friend and I were picking up trash, picking up a lot of trash, a lot of fireworks, and I posted a video of her and it was a very passionate video,” she explained. “She actually teared up and it we posted it on another Treasure Island Facebook page and got a lot of hits.”
Auerbach said another woman passionate about keeping the beach clean saw the video and asked where the duo had cleaned up, so she could head farther north to do her part.
That’s what gave Auerbach the idea to start her own Facebook page, to keep those who love Treasure Island and its beauty close and for them to know about upcoming cleanups and volunteer opportunities.
Auerbach’s EventBrite events for these cleanups offer “tickets” that break up the beach into sections. More “tickets” are given out for larger, wider portions of the beach. The beach is sectioned off from “A” to “F.”
“And different tickets in area ‘A,’ which is north, right above John’s Pass, maybe there will be 10 tickets because it’s a small area, but way down [in] area ‘C,’ where it’s a very long beach, very wide, I’ll put 40 tickets,” Auerbach said. “People will go there, so we cover the entire length of the beach during our cleanups.”
The July 5 cleanup will be held in the morning, after a fireworks display on the beach for the Independence Day holiday.
“I’m sure people are going to be setting off their own fireworks and not cleaning up, along with other trash but it’ll be our job that morning to set out to the beach and clean up and fill holes then as well,” Auerbach said.
In addition to these cleanups after holidays, Auerbach is also organizing a “Hole Patrol” volunteer team after numerous, large, mysterious holes have been discovered on Treasure Island and other beaches throughout Pinellas County.
“People are spending a lot of time on the beach, and maybe digging holes – digging big holes – and then when they’re done at the end of the day, five, six hours, later they’re too tired… and just don’t feel like filling them in,” Auerbach speculated. “So it’s our job to educate why they need to be filled in.”
As for sea turtle nesting, the four miles of Treasure Island beach is monitored by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium every morning. Auerbach said she thinks there are probably about 10 nests so far, early in sea turtle nesting season.
Those interested in volunteering to help clean up the beach after the holiday on July 5 can get a “ticket” through EventBrite now.
Auerbach says she will be at the Treasure Island Chamber of Commerce Kiosk from 8:15 a.m. until 9:15 a.m. with supplies, T-shirts and giveaways.
The assigned areas for the cleanup are listed on the event page.
To help with the hole patrol group effort, you can head to the Facebook post or email email@example.com.