I.CARE Trash Derby 2024

Key West, Florida
May 3, 2024


On Friday, May 3, 2024, The International SeaKeepers Society participated in the second annual keys-wide I.CARE Trash Derby. I.CARE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to restoring and protecting our coral reefs by incorporating local organizations, businesses and residents in coral transplanting, maintenance and marine debris cleanup initiatives. On May 3rd and 4th, organizations and individuals participated in marine debris removal from Key Largo to Key West by diving, hosting land-based cleanups and using private boats. SeaKeepers headed down to Key West to board D/Y DISCOVERY, captained by Program Development Manager Aubri. Using DISCOVERY as our mothership, our Education Manager, Toni, and Community Engagement Associate, Lillian, took out paddle boards to get close to the mangroves and remove all the debris we could find. Within 4 hours, the SeaKeepers team removed over 180 pounds of debris directly from the mangroves, mostly consisting of ropes and lines, wood, plastic bags, and aluminum cans. Before leaving all the collected trash with the I.CARE team at the Key West drop-off site, we used the Marine Debris Tracker app to log the types of materials collected and create data to be used by scientists and legislators. We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in the I.CARE Trash Derby and are looking forward to participating again next year!

Outing Goal:

Marine Debris Tracker is a data collection app that allows the general public to contribute to an open-date platform and scientific research by recording the different types of litter, specifically plastic pollution, that they find in either inland or marine environments. Marine Debris Tracker was developed by the University of Georgia’s Jambeck Research Group, which SeaKeepers worked with in 2021 when the Jambeck Research Group collaborated with Ocean Conservancy to assess Miami’s plastic waste management, known as a Circularity Assessment Protocol. SeaKeepers again assisted the Jambeck Research Group’s Circularity Informatics Lab in 2022 with another Circularity Assessment Protocol in the Florida Keys. The researchers of the Jambeck Lab use the Marine Debris Tracker app to record their data, and with citizen scientists also using the app, more data can be collected in different areas. Using Marine Debris Tracker at our cleanups involves community members in creating a bigger picture of plastic pollution, and provides the means for new scientific findings to be generated as well as for effective local legislation to be informed. SeaKeepers is excited to be incorporating this app at our cleanups and continue our mission of coastal education, protection, and restoration.

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