UF, county team up for day of service

Cleanup crew picking up trash
Cleanup crew picking up trash
Angela Compagnone via Shutterstock

More than 1,000 people have volunteered to participate in an annual day of service event in Gainesville and the surrounding area on Saturday. 

The Big Event, which began in 2017, is a joint effort between Keep Alachua County Beautiful (KACB) and UF Student Government. It will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Flavet Field and include litter cleanups, removal of invasive plant species, waterways cleanups, and maintenance of community gardens.

"The good news is we have so many people who want to come out and make a difference," said Gina Hawkins, KACB executive director. "The bad news is there's a lot to be done."

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KACB will provide supplies, materials and tools, which will include personal protective equipment. Organizers said they will conduct the event in a "proper socially distanced manner" to ensure safety during the pandemic. 

The Big Event requires pre-registration, but Hawkins, who called litter a "chronic problem," said those who want to help keep the county clean can register to help any time at kacb.org. 

On April 10 KACB will host its annual event called The Great American Cleanup at Massey Park. Hawkins said volunteers are out cleaning every day there isn't lightning, but the big annual event is an opportunity to thank those doing the work. 

"We like to reward people for doing a good thing, so we'll have some gifts, prizes and food to give away," she said. 

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