The Conch Republic Marine Army started with a few friends after Hurricane Irma devastated the Florida Keys in September 2017. The goal was to recover the trash and debris from shorelines caused by thousands of homes and their contents being pushed into the water by the storm and the surge. The fragile ecosystem of Mangroves and the shorelines are in serious damage. The grassroots startup became a 501c3 and has been in continuous service ever since and has over 4,000 volunteers join them removing hundred of tons of trash and debris.
We now run weekly trips for volunteers out into the back country every Saturday and with private groups during the week. Each trip gets a great free lunch and everything provided to return home with hundreds if not thousands of pounds in a single trip. Private groups from all over the country have come to visit us and help with as many as 30 people in a single group. It’s all hands on deck and many hands make light work. The team building is amazing and as we say..”We make Friends in Dirty Places.” We have had all ages from 8 years to 93 years old join us. There is something for everyone to do on a trip even if it’s not the heavy lifting or dirty shoreline work.
Our customers are not people. We don’t do this for tourists, locals, or even long term visitors. Of course they benefit from our efforts, but our true customers are the critters that call the mangroves home. Trillions of shrimp, minnows, crabs and lobster call the mangroves their own nursery. In addition hundreds of endangered birds visit as well as pelagic fish that pass through. When the ecology is right everything else falls into place.