Wolverines Making Waves at Monthly Beach Cleanups

Ian Leonard and Javier Sarache

AICE Marine Biology teacher Jim Rigolo has been teaching at Wellington High School for 18 years. For six years he’s been an active member in a community beach cleanup called “Friends of Palm Beach” and encourages his students to participate as well. The main focus of the beach cleanups is to make the beaches a safer, cleaner place for sea-life and everyone to enjoy.

Flora Rigolo
Mr. Rigolo at September’s Beach Cleanup.

“There is a lot we’ve done to the ocean,” Rigolo says. “There’s a lot of garbage in it, we’ve used it as a dumping ground, not just us in this country, but all over the world.”

He, along with many others in the community, have made it a point to take care of the environment and help out in any ways they can.

“We need to educate people,” Rigolo says, “not to put stuff there, but then to get rid of the stuff that’s there, and that as plastics degrade, they give off toxins which fish are absorbing, which we are then eating, so it’s important to get that stuff out of the ocean.”

Last week alone the Friends of Palm Beach collected 746 pounds of trash in a two-hour time period. Within the six years that Mr. Rigolo has been a part of the group, he estimates a total of eight to ten thousand pounds of trash has been collected and properly disposed of.

Flora Rigolo
Just some of the trash collected during September’s Beach Cleanup.

Some benefits students are able to gain from going to the beach cleanups are community service hours for graduation. If students are ever in desperate need of community service, try going to a cleanup or two.

Lily Kirkpatrick, a student at Wellington High School says, “Beach cleanups are important, not just for the community service aspect, but just because the ocean plays a very important role to us humans… also to keep the oceans clean and to come together as a community and work together to see the result.”

Flora Rigolo
Students pitching in at September’s Beach Cleanup.

Anyone interested in attending a beach cleanup can check the Friends of Palm Beach website for announced dates. You can also ask Mr. Rigolo if you see him around campus, about a chance to participate in this amazing opportunity to make a difference in your community.