(Photo/Kathryn Malaxos)

slash pine and trash

in city hall/photos

The slash pine with a Traveling Tree Walk sign caught my eye as I entered Waterfront Park this morning. Late for any sort of sunrise photo, I decided to make this tree — one of my personal favorites — and its informational sign the focus of today’s photo. I was so focused on the sign that I didn’t initially see the trash in the photo background.

I picked up a styrofoam flat and several plastic bags and took them to the trash.

As I walked along the boardwalk I thought about how important Waterfront Park has become to my friends and neighbors. It is easily top-of-the-list for most folks when describing what they love about Safety Harbor. And then, stopping to look over the railing at the stone benches and clusters of foliage around the spring, I spotted another plastic bag.

Public awareness of plastic and plastic pollution has increased substantially over the years. Most people have some idea of the impact on our ocean and ocean creatures. Keeping up with the trash that migrates toward Tampa Bay cannot solely be the responsibility of city workers. As I took this plastic grocery bag to the trash can I committed myself to joining retailer REI’s initiative to #OptOutside on Friday. I don’t need any more stuff. And I’m grateful for Safety Harbor’s green spaces.

See you at the park.

Kathryn Malaxos has lived in Safety Harbor since 1990. She is a mother of two grown humans and a dog who may never grow up. Kathy started teaching in 1989 and continues to work as a public school teacher. She is a graduate of USF St. Pete’s master’s program for Digital Journalism & Design. Contact her with story ideas and suggestions at newsroom@safetyharborsun.com