Volunteer Essentials

 

You want to help.  What can you expect?

Well, that depends on what you want to do.  As our name implies, we mostly do marine habitat cleanup and restoration.  You know, water.  As in, we jump into kayaks and canoes and paddle into where stuff shouldn’t be, and is.  It’s muddy.  Stinky.  Even disgusting.  Extremely tiring and hot.  And you’ll have the time of your life.  Because it’s also fun.  The people make it so.

Don’t think you’re kayak-capable?  We need shore folks too!  To offload what we haul back.  To offer food and water.  To just cheer folks on.  There is a place for you here, no matter what your physical fitness level or abilities.

We do request that you sign a waiver the first time you come out.  Legal formalities.  And we encourage … actually strongly encourage you to stay within your limits.  There are no grunting heroes here who expect you to do anything you are uncomfortable with.  We are very safety-conscious.  Almost to a fault.

You ready to learn more?  Keep reading …

Debris Removed To Date

After epic battles, we have removed 307,010 documented pounds of debris from the Florida Keys.  That’s 153.5 tons!  All done by people just like you.

But sadly, that grand total is from only a few miles of shoreline.  A rough goal is we have around two million pounds of debris in the Florida Keys to remove.  And that’s if nothing else comes along and adds to the total.  We are ramping up as quickly as possible, but there is just so much to do.  With your help, we will get to the point where the wildlife can again flourish.  Come out to an event.  Together, we can restore our marine habitats.

Our Story

Hurricane Irma impacted the Florida Keys on September 10th, 2017 … in more ways than one.  Many lives ended.  Homes were destroyed.  And we were left with devastation of almost unimaginable proportions.

But … !

We are known as The Conch Republic.  And we have a special kind of unrelenting drive and optimism.  We do not back down, nor do we quit.  When we see neighbors who need assistance, we help.  Unconditionally.  When we see a need, we volunteer.  And so an army was created.  An army of people, both from within the Republic and outside our borders, who came together to restore what Irma took away, and to make everyone’s lives better.

As time progressed, we were able to expand our operations from simple cleanup, to restoration and preservation of our waterways, bays, and ocean.

Please visit us on Facebook and follow along.  Join our events.  Toss in what you can to help.  Or just offer encouragement.  We thank you, and the Conch Republic thanks you.

A Little More About Us

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n64BNr09faQ?rel=0&showinfo=0]

Additional Videos

What You Need To Know and Do

Most of what we do is dirty.  Where we do it is often hot and sometimes secluded.  Proper equipment and preparation is key to your enjoyment and safety.  Please run down the list and make sure you are ready.

  • Reusable water bottle.  We will provide the fill up.
  • Water shoes.  We wade into areas that are filled with muck.  Make sure your shoes are secure and won’t be pulled off in deeper bottoms.
  • Long sleeved shirts and pants.  We climb into the mangroves, and they will take a bite out of you.
  • Work gloves.
  • Reef-safe sunscreen.
  • Sunglasses.  Polarized is preferred.
  • Hat, bandanna, or other head covering to protect from the sun.
  • Optional: Tools like pocket knives, rakes, grabbers, rope, etc.  Also, if you have a kayak or canoe, please bring them.  Don’t forget your safety gear!

Our days usually run from morning to mid afternoon, under the Florida sun.  Take breaks often, and drink lots of water.  Don’t wait until you are thirsty, that’s too late.

Safety is our number one goal.  Always work in pairs or in groups.  If you need to be separated for a short time, make sure others are aware of your destination and timing.  Stay within vocal distance.  Climbing in mangroves can be dangerous, make sure each step can bear your weight before lifting the other foot.  Walking in muck is equally dangerous.  If your feet get stuck and you fall under, you can find yourself in serious trouble.  Hence the requirement that we work in teams and always within our limits.