Spurred on by the Splash Trash Tour recently exhibited at the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve local organizations have teamed together to spread the word about trash in the world’s waters.

Spurred on by the Splash Trash Tour recently exhibited at the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve local organizations have teamed together to spread the word about trash in the world’s waters.

The Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves along with the Florida Coastal Conservancy, the Science Seed, and the Splash Trash Tour will continue the tour’s work with permanent installations here in Gulf County.

The St. Joe Bay Buffer Preserve will host a mini-exhibit from the Splash Trash Tour in the future.

Lynda White, the president of the Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves, was moved by the tour.

“I really feel strongly about this, it’s become part of my mission, too,” said White. “This bay, if we don’t take care of it, we’re going to lose it. It’s very delicate. We learned that when we lost the scallops to red tide.”

Bette Booth, the creator of the Splash Trash Tour, is happy with the results of the tour, especially with its last stop in Gulf County.

“The whole idea was to partner with people, spread the word, and network,” said Booth, adding that was achieved with the local community’s investment in continuing the work.“This is my favorite site of all. I have been so welcomed here.”

Along with a future exhibit at the buffer preserve, the new coalition is also hosting a collaborative art piece at the second annual Sea Turtle Festival in July.

Visitors to the festival will be able to turn trash into art by attaching loose trash onto an old net. Both the trash and the net were picked up on local beaches in February.

That artwork will be a reflection of the artworks created by Booth which is highlighted in her tour.

“I came out here and got inspired by Bette’s project,” said Mimi Minnick of the Science Seed. “It was both that the message was so compelling and that the artwork was so beautiful. It was a great way of focusing people’s attention on the problem in a way that wasn’t preachy or pushy.”

Minnick, who teaches young children with the Science Seed, sees continuing the message of the Splash Trash Tour as a great way to reach children.

“Children are natural-born scientists, children are naturally passionate about animals and the environment,” said Minnick. “People I’ve talked to over the years, almost everyone that’s involved, engaged, or inspired in this field had experience as a child with a parent or grandparent that woke them up to the wonders of the natural world and our responsibility to be the stewards.” White agreed that children are the perfect candidates for exhibits like the Splash Trash Tour,

“We have to raise these children to understand that this is going to be their future,” White said. “And that they have to learn how to take care and how to be stewards of this beautiful planet.”

Although the Splash Trash Tour and the upcoming events are great for children, those involved also believe that adults can be moved to action just like they were.

“When I have an audience of young children, I also have their parents in the back of the room,” said Minnick.

While stating that it may at times become overwhelming, White puts the responsibility of keeping the bay and gulf clean on individuals,

“People need to do a better job and I think people need to understand it all comes down to what we can do individually,” she said.

After seeing the collected trash Minnick was in agreement,

“It takes on more weight when it’s collected like that,” Minnick said. “We all walk down the beach and pick up a stray bottle or bottle cap. But when you think about the collective weight of people doing that, that’s when it gets really powerful, sometimes overwhelming.”