In an effort to protect birds, sea turtles, manatees and other sea life from becoming entangled in discarded fishing line, a small group of local high school students installed a monofilament recycling sign and bin on the bridge at Jack Nicklaus Drive and U.S. 1 this month.
The project, initiated by Benjamin School graduate Adrienne Propp, involved five members of the Junior Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park.
The organization is composed of environmentally conscious high school students whose mission is to generate resources to help preserve, restore, and interpret the park’s natural and cultural assets.
Propp, a former president of the organization, led the group’s efforts to install the recycling sign and bin to protect the area’s sea life from monofilament — a single-strand, high-density nylon fishing line — discarded on the bridge.
The fishing line can take up to 600 years to decompose and can be accidentally ingested by sea life.
“The newly renovated bridge is a popular fishing area, and we noticed that there was not already a monofilament recycling bin in place,” said Propp, who approached the Junior Friends and its advisers, Bill O’Brien and Janice Kerber, with her concerns this summer.
“It was also apparent that one was needed, as there was used monofilament visibly wrapped around the wires over the bridge.”
After receiving approval from the Florida Department of Transportation, the Junior Friends got to work installing the sign and monofilament recycling bin, which it borrowed from the park.
“We were lucky that MacArthur Beach already had a suitable bin for us that was not being used,” Propp said. “However, if we need to replace it in the future, a bin would be easy to make out of ordinary PVC pipe.”
The group will monitor and clean the bin monthly following meetings at the park, or more often if necessary, Propp said.
For information on the Jr. Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park, visit www.macarthurbeach.org.