LLast Saturday, January 12th, Merry and I kicked off the semester by going to conduct surveys at a park cleanup at Bairs Cove, a popular trail and boat launch ramp for fishermen in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Reserve. Park rangers haven’t been working due to the government shut down. As a result, no one has been collecting the garbage left behind in the park. After talking to the leaders of the event, Merry and I chose to partake in the cleanup as we conducted surveys. The day was a total success. Bairs Cove is right along the Indian River Lagoon, and everyone we spoke to along the trail had so much knowledge about the area and why it was meaningful to them. Most people told us they thought their place was meaningful because it was ecologically important. Talking to these people, who obviously valued the Indian River Lagoon for all it’s beauty and wonder (given that they had given up their Saturday to clean up other people’s garbage) warmed my heart. Keep Brevard Beautiful will be hosting another clean up event in Bairs Cove this coming Saturday (January 19th)! Directions to the event can be found here. For all of those interested in lending a helping hand during the shutdown, your help would be greatly appreciated!