Jekyll gives volunteers chance to help clean up
The Brunswick News
March 02, 2012

When the opportunity arose to protect a section of David Egan's beloved Jekyll Island beach, he rose to the occasion.

The co-founder of the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island, Egan said he recognized the importance of keeping Jekyll Island's beaches clean and pristine for the next generation of visitors.

That's why his group adopted a mile-long stretch of beach extending from the Glory Boardwalk at the Jekyll Island soccer fields to the water tower on Beachview Drive.

The organization now takes care of that stretch of the island as a part of the Jekyll Island Adopt a Beach program.

The program was instituted on Earth Day last year as a way to keep the public involved in the upkeep of the island, said Cliff Gawron, director of landscape and planning for the Jekyll Island Authority.

Egan's group isn't alone. Another eight organizations have adopted stretches of the beach, leaving just 2 miles of beach unclaimed.

Giving individuals a way to get involved on the island allows them to maintain a sense of ownership, Gawron said.

"Jekyll Island really belongs to the folks and citizens of Georgia," he said.

Each participating organization pays a $250 yearly fee that covers the costs of a sign marking the adopted area, administration and supplemental equipment to clean the beach.

Organizations agree to maintain a section for two years. That includes a pledge to conduct at least four clean ups of their area of beach over a 12-month period.

There's plenty of work to do. When the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island held its first beach clean up in November, members were shocked at what they found hiding in the island's dunes, Egan said.

Nearly 20 people filled around 10 bags of trash, Egan said, a sign that the area hadn't been thoroughly cleaned in a while.

"We found abandoned beach chairs, chicken wire fences, articles of clothing," Egan said.

Having organizations maintain sections of the beach is helpful to the Jekyll Island Authority.

"The Jekyll Island Authority does patrol the beach every day, but since we've had the adoption program it allows the beach to be more thoroughly maintained," Gawron said.