Gulf Guardian Award: 2nd Place Individual – Sharon Gincauskas

Gulf Guardian Award: 2nd Place Individual – Sharon Gincauskas


[Music] Narrator: Sharon Gincauskas single-handedly
created a weekly beach cleanup project involving volunteers spanning the entire Pensacola,
Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach communities in Florida. Each Saturday morning, year round, Sharon
organizes a one-hour shore clean up, directing volunteers, providing supplies, processing
the collected marine debris and disposing of the trash. The environmental improvements to the Gulf
shores are immediately visible in the litter-free shoreline and coastal waters. Sharon’s efforts began four years ago when
she started collecting debris by herself. Now, she has more than 200 volunteers and
has created the Ocean Hour program. Sharon has inspired a grassroots movement
of volunteers to take ownership and pride in the cleanliness of the shoreline. The weighing of the trash at the end of the
cleanup hour gives the volunteers a sense of purpose and accomplishment, as they help
tackle an unsightly and unhealthy environmental issue. Ocean Hour also actively tracks marine debris
data and shares the information with local government and academic institutions. Sharon’s work is making a difference, and
local residents, businesses and organizations are paying attention and getting involved. Two local universities, the Boy Scouts and
local military personnel, are among some of the groups working with Sharon to better the
shores and waters along the Gulf. For Sharon, this is just the beginning — she
already has ideas for environmental education programs, changing local business practices,
setting up trash bag dispensers at lifeguard stations, and expanding her cleanup efforts
in as many new communities in the Panhandle as possible. Congratulations to Sharon Gincauskas the second
place winner of the 2017 Gulf Guardian award in the individual category. [Music]

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