Scoutmaster Ari Poholek knows that it’s important for younger generations to understand that they can be the solution to the plastic pollution problem. The scouts recently participated in two coastal cleanups. An area state parks cleanup of Lignumvitae Key resulted in over 1 ton of trash removed. While cleaning up Indian Key, the scouts rescued a cormorant with severe wing and leg injuries that prevented it from flying or swimming. They took the bird to the Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center where it was eventually euthanized due to its severe injuries.
Executive Director Jordan Budnik could not confirm whether the cormorant’s condition was directly related to the debris on Indian Key, but she did note that native wildlife in the Keys fights an “uphill battle against debris” in the water and along the shorelines. “Whether we see animals entangled in fishing line and hooks, or ingesting litter, pollution is a tragedy that plays itself out over and over again in our ecosystems,” she said. Budnik encouraged wide participation in coastal cleanups to protect wildlife from “inhumane fates” and to preserve the environment for the future.