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061517 SWB DIGITAL EDITION

18 x June 15 - July 5,

18 x June 15 - July 5, 2017 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com SOUTHWEST SEEN ▲Some people don boots while others simply wade along the shoreline of Bird Island. An army of volunteers joined Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn and Orange County Environmental Protection Division employees for the recent Mayor’s Earth Day Cleanup Event. Three different groups spent their morning discarding invasive plants and trash at Fernwood Park, Maguire Road and Bird (Egret) Island. Bird Island is a designated bird sanctuary owned mostly by the Florida Audubon Society, and despite signs stating it is illegal to land a boat or walk on the island, it is continually compromised by weekend partiers. Volunteers kayaked and canoed along the shoreline, picking up bottles, cans and trash, while another small group went onto the island with permission to do the same. Twenty-five large bags of trash were taken from the island. Meanwhile, at Fernwood Park, volunteers were given a crash course by Orange County EPD employees about how to identify invasive species of plants and the safest way to remove them. At the end of the half-day cleanup, two dumpsters were filled with trash and debris from the three sites. ▲More than a dozen kayakers and canoers paddle the shoreline of Bird Island, picking up debris. ▲Volunteers clean up at three Windermere locations for the Mayor’s Earth Day Cleanup Event. ▲With large numbers of brown pelicans nesting, a protective pelican continues to soar by the volunteers, warning them to stay away. ▲Despite multiple signs stating to keep off Bird Island and no trespassing, the island is inundated with bottles, cans and trash of all sorts. ▲A small group of people join Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn (fourth from left) to pick up trash on Bird Island. ▲An Orange County Environmental Protection Division employee instructs volunteers on how to identify and safely remove invasive plants.

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