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Gulf Coast nonprofit Eco Clean Marine to celebrate volunteers, asks for help in trash pickup

Courtesy: Eco Clean Marine

A nonprofit group along the Gulf Coast is working to clean up local waterways and beaches one piece of trash at a time. Eco Clean Marine was established in January 2022. The organization operates from Fort Morgan, Alabama, to Panama City, Florida, organizing monthly trash pickups with businesses and organizations.

The next event is Saturday, November 18. Eco Clean Marine is also getting the word out now for a party happening on the same day. The first ever volunteer appreciation party is to say thank you to volunteers who have helped the group, celebrate how far they've come and to plan for the future.

Courtney Dombroski is the CEO and founder of Eco Clean Marine. She said both events will happen starting at Jesse’s on the Bay in Fort Morgan.

“All you have to do is show up, and we have everything out for you. We have gloves, grabbers and vests,” she explained. “You can come out and pick up trash down Fort Morgan and help make a difference here locally. We are going to be picking up starting around 8:45 a.m., and we'll pick up all the way until 11:00 a.m.”

Eco Clean Marine’s inaugural volunteer appreciation party will follow the trash pickup event starting at 11 a.m. at Jesse’s on the Bay in Fort Morgan.

Dombroski said there are other options for support if people can’t attend the events in person. One way is by buying a so-called “Bucket of Goodwill.”

 “They can buy a bucket of trash, meaning that $5 buys this goodwill bucket of trash, and all the money raised from that event will be totaled into the Gulf Shores tallies,” she explained. “We'll consider that as a bought bucket. It kind of it raises the standard for the bucket spot underneath Gulf Shores,” she continued, “because we keep up with all of our notes and data. We can see how many buckets was picked up in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and it's almost like a competition [to see] which city’s doing the most.”

Dombroski said the mission of Eco Clean Marine is to clean up beaches along the Gulf Coast and to educate the next generation about the importance of maintaining the ecosystem.

“Those are the main goals,” she said. “I like to think that our real mission here is to inspire the younger generation to fall in love with our environment, to hopefully change their hearts, so we can keep our beaches cleaner and take a step in the right direction for the future.”

Eco Clean Marine has also installed fish-feeding machines along the Gulf Coast to help strengthen the ecosystem. According to the non-profit’s website, an e-book is available to download while feeding the fish. It’s designed to educate about the local marine life along the panhandle.

Follow Eco Clean Marine on Facebook to learn more.

Janiya Patrick is a student intern in the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. She’s majoring in News Media at The University of Alabama and is participating in the Lucy Legacy Mentor Program. Janiya loves watching football and basketball, and she hopes to one day become a sports reporter.

Baillee Majors is the Morning Edition host and a reporter at Alabama Public Radio.
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