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When 12 Florida Gulf Coast University students traveled to Dog Beach last Saturday, they intended to clean up the beaches and stop pollution. What they ended up doing — perhaps without even realizing it — was setting an example for future FGCU students and the community at large. Each of these students hails from Immokalee and has graduated from a TIF program.

Using canoes, some students went out on the water to pick up fishing lines and nets, a frequent hazard to marine life in the area. Other students walked up and down Estero Boulevard, picking up bottles and talking to local residents.

To learn more about the day’s events and to see more pictures, continue on.

According to Nancy Omonte, the TIF staff member who led the FGCU clean-up team, the students’ efforts were greatly appreciated by the residents of  Lee County. This was just one of the many benefits of this Saturday outing, Nancy said, listing a string of additional benefits: 

1). “It is very important for youth, or anyone really, to help volunteer and keep our environment clean.”
2). “We need to pass down a healthy environment for future generations.”
3). “I think that outings such as environmental clean-ups help the youth value their environment and it definitely makes them more aware.”
4). “The students learn to not litter.”
5). “FGCU has a whole course dedicated to just this topic”
6). “The students feel proud and energized when they give back to Mother Nature by cleaning it up.”
7). “ It is especially important to keep our waters clean as fish and other ocean wildlife like turtles and manatees get tangled and injured in the ocean litter.”
8). “The land and ocean are all connected so that is why I feel it is important to do our best to make our environment a safe and clean place for everyone.” 
9). “Volunteering is giving back and volunteering to pick up trash and llitter teaches our youth a valuable lesson — that it’s their job to keep our world beautiful.”
10). “They get to feel like they gave Mother Nature a big hug.”

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