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Join NEFAR in cleaning up Northeast Florida Waterways 

Cleanup Northeast Florida Waters headline next to a bucket filled with trash overlayed on the bucket this the title Inaugural NEFAR Trash Challenge.

This summer, members of the Northeast Florida Association of REALTORS have made it their mission to pick up trash and clean up the waterways that serve as a focal point of their region. 

This year’s clean-up has expanded to include three major events – St. Johns River clean-up based in Putnam County, a St. Johns River clean-up based in Duval, St. Johns and Clay counties, and an Inaugural Trash Challenge encompassing the entire Northeast Florida region. 

The NEFAR events are part of a larger state-wide Florida Realtors® Clean-up Florida Waters event encompassing the entire month of July.   

Putnam County Waterway Clean-up  

NEFAR’s Putnam County Waterway Clean-up event will take place Saturday, July 13 from 8 am to 11 am. Participants will launch from Crystal Cove Marina, in Palatka and gather back at the marina by noon for an afterparty where food, drinks and a raffle will be served. 

The Putnam County Waterway event is being organized by Becky Williams of Coldwell Banker Ben Bates Realty. Everyone is welcome to participate and will be furnished with event t-shirts, gloves, grabbers, trash bags, water, etc.  

This event is sponsored by: realMLS, Watson Realty/Property Management & Title Services, First Federal Bank, JAX Boat Rentals, and J-Dog Junk Removal.

Duval, Clay, St. Johns Counties Waterway Clean-up 

The July 27 Northeast Florida Waterway Clean-up will take place at six locations along the St. Johns River and its tributaries from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The afterparty will begin at noon at the NEFAR Resource Center, 7801 Deercreek Club Road in Jacksonville. All participants will be provided with a t-shirt, gloves, grabbers, and trash receptacles. 

The July 27 Waterway Clean-up locations are as follows: 

  • Lion’s Club Boat Ramp/Arlington – hosted bv NEFAR’s YPN and Beaches Councils 

4322 Richard Denby Gatlin Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32277 

  • North River Walk/Sidney Gefen Riverwalk Park – hosted by NEFAR’s Global Business Council and Commercial Alliance of REALTORS (parking at Sidney Gefen Park. Clean-up will take place on the North Riverwalk between Sidney Gefen Park and the Riverside Arts Market. 505 Alfred DuPont Place, Jacksonville 32202 
  • Wayne B. Stevens Boat Ramp/Ortega – hosted by NEFAR’s Historic Council. 4555 Ortega Farms Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32202 
  • South Riverwalk/Friendship Fountain & MOSH – hosted by NEFAR’s Mandarin and St. Johns Councils. 1015 Museum Circle, Jacksonville, FL 32207. Also, will include clean up around Miller’s Creek Bridge and Gay Street in St. Nicholas (in woods heading toward bridge from Morning Glory Christian Church parking lot.) 
  • Bert Maxwell Boat Ramp and road leading up to the area – hosted by NEFAR’s Northside Council. 500 Maxwell Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32218 
  • Black Creek/Knights Marina Boat Ramp – hosted by NEFAR’s Southwest Council (area on the northside of the bridge and under the bridge) 1472 River Lane, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043 

Each clean-up site will be marked with a NEFAR flag. Snacks, water, rubber gloves and grabbers will be available to all participants. 

Boat Convoys 

In addition, three pontoon boats hosted by NEFAR’s event sponsors realMLS, First Federal Bank, and Watson Realty Corp. Title Company and Property Management will leave from Arlington’s Lion’s Club Boat Ramp at 9 am. They will head out into the river to clean up hard-to-reach islands in the St. Johns River.  

Also, a convoy of individual boaters will gather at the same time at Arlington’s Lion’s Club Boat Ramp to head out and scour portions of the river’s shoreline that are inaccessible to land, particularly the area near JAXPort, near the Dames Point Bridge, and under the Mathews Bridge. A barge will be available to assist the boat convoys in trash disposal. Boaters are responsible for caring for their own vessels and following all U.S. Coast Guard regulations.  

NEFAR’s Inaugural Trash Challenge 

The NEFAR Inaugural Trash Challenge is open to all NEFAR members, families, friends, and members of the public. It will span two months from June 5 until midnight Thursday, August 1. 

During that time, participants are asked to collect 5-gallon buckets or bags of trash anywhere they can find it in Northeast Florida. Each participant should register on the iAngler app, and they will be asked to upload phoitos of their filled trash bags or containers. Their progress will be tracked on the iAngler app. 

Prizes will be awarded not only to the participant who collects the most trash, but also to the participant from the public who collects the most trash and the NEFAR member who collects the most trash. All participants who collect trash will have their names placed in a raffle where two prizes will be drawn. Raffle tickets will be awarded based upon the number of trash bags collected.

EXAMPLE: 100 bags = 100 tickets; 1 bag = 1 ticket.  

A “trash” leaderboard will be featured each week on NEFAR’s Member Update so members can keep track of the top five leading participants. A full leaderboard will be updated each week on the iAngler app. (Download App for iPhone / Download App for Android)

Trash Challenge Rules 

  • All participants must register by filling out all required fields on the iAngler Tournament App or web page. 
  • The Trash Challenge begins at 8 am June 5 and ends at midnight August 1. 
  • Type of trash collected: plastic bottles, plastic items, cans, paper, discarded fishing gear, etc. 
  • Location: please note the specific location of the area that was cleaned and what type of area it is, ie. waterway, beach, mangrove, roadway, boat ramp, etc. 
  • Let us know if it is a large item that requires pick-up. 
  • Participants should upload photos of their trash collection during the time specified by the contest rules. No photos of trash picked up prior to the date of 8 am, June 5, 2024, will be considered. The app system recognizes photo time stamps. 
  • One 5-gallon bucket or equivalent garbage bag full of trash will count as 1 bucket. 
  • Photos of many buckets or bags can be submitted in one photo. Please select an appropriate number of buckets in the photo so it is easy to see how many are pictured. 
  • Scoring guidelines: One bucket = One raffle entry 
  • If a single piece of trash is larger than a 5-gallon bucket, it will count as one bucket entry. Examples might include tires, broken toilets, washed-up chairs or furniture. 
  • Tournament submissions end promptly at 11:59 EST on August 1, 2024. 
  • Winners will be drawn within 48 hours of the end of the tournament. 
  • Three (3) attempts to contact each winner will be made. If the winner does not respond within one week of the last and final attempt, they will have to forfeit their prize. 
  • The tournament hashtag is #cleanupfloridawaters for Facebook.  
  • The tournament Facebook or Twitter address is #cleanupfloridawaters 
  • Registration fee is FREE 


About The Author

Marcia Hodgson

A longtime community news and sports reporter, Marcia Hodgson worked for daily and weekly newspapers in Massachusetts, Alaska, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Florida, prior to joining NEFAR as Communications Director. She has a BA degree in political science from George Washington University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Tampa. In her spare time, she enjoys beach combing, reading, traveling, researching her genealogy, and having dinner with friends and family.

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