2nd time around: Great Island Cleanup—the sequel

This week
This week's edition of the Journal features a preview of the 2nd Annual Great Island Cleanup (read about it in accompanying article, and mark Saturday, April 21, on your calendar).
— image credit: File art

Guess how many people offered a helping hand in the Great Island Cleanup a year ago?

That’s right, over 200.

Guess how much trash that group gathered from San Juan Island’s beaches and roadsides? Right again, more than 5,000 pounds.

Now, guess what’s happening on Saturday, April 21, the day before Earth Day? Bingo… it’s the Great Island Cleanup, the sequel.

The 2nd Annual Great Island Cleanup gets under way across the island at, well, pretty much whenever you’re ready, but the event officially runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Cleanup’s steering committee encourages everyone to take part in the island-wide cleanup effort by picking up whatever litter might be lying around at around your home or business. If you’d like to get more involved, however, drop by the Market Place between April 13-20, where committee members can help assign you to a particular stretch of road or section of waterfront, one you can call your own. You can also reserve a cleanup spot by contacting the steering committee’s Lori Stokes, 378-4643 or

“Picking up litter in small groups is much more fun, and also a great deal safer,” says Jana Marks of the steering committee. “So gather some friends or family members and make a party out of it. And if you’re not a litter-picker-upper that day but are out and about in your car, please be cautious and keep an eye out so those who are working can do so in relative safety.”

This year’s Great Island Cleanup has a dual purpose, functioning as a community litter sweep and as a tribute.

The 2012 Cleanup is dedicated in memory of Patt Martin, San Juan County’s litter program coordinator for a dozen years, 1998-2010. Martin, who many credit with putting together the county litter control program almost single-handily and turning it into a well-organized and effective operation, passed away in early 2011.

“The program’s success was due, in part, to Patt’s straight forward, no-nonsense approach to carrying out her supervision and coordination roles, flavored with touches of humor,” county Solid Waste Division Manager Steve Alexander penned in tribute to Martin shortly after her death. “She really did care about and love the work she did for the community.”

Support for the Great Island Cleanup is growing by leaps and bounds. Friday Harbor Mayor Carrie Lacher will proclaim April 21 as “Great Island Cleanup Day” at the April 19 town council meeting. San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce is distributing free pickup bags and has a limited number of equipment to loan, and ACE and Browne’s Home Center are each offering trash “pick-up kits” at discounted prices in conjunction with the event.

For more info, contact David Dehlendorf, 378-1082, or Lori Stokes, 378-4643


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