NFL Green tailgating on AMI Monday for beach cleanup

January 21, 2021 6:00 pm

Spanish Rocks Reef off Anna Maria Island is an underwater gem for Southwest Florida divers and snorkelers. Life on the limestone ledges includes sponges, soft corals, sea squirts and assorted fish. Sea turtles and nurse sharks are occasionally spotted. On Monday, you may spot an NFL star.

NFL Green, in partnership with the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee, Force Blue, and Pepsi Stronger Together, is hosting “Dive55” in Bradenton Beach from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Dive55 is a beach and Gulf cleanup day. Special Operations vets from Force Blue will lead 55 volunteer divers from multiple local organizations to remove marine debris and abandoned fishing gear from Spanish Rocks.

"Force Blue is proud to be able to work with the NFL … to bring attention to, and take action for, one of the biggest problems our oceans face today − the rapidly declining health of our coral reefs and coastal habitats," said Jim Ritterhoff, Force Blue's executive director and co-founder.

According to NFL Green, which was organized in 1993, the idea is to mitigate the eco impact in cities and regions that host the league’s major events.

Former NFL kicker Martin Gramática (above), a Tampa Bay-area resident and Buccaneers fan favorite, Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Ritterhoff are scheduled to attend.

"The NFL is a responsible steward of the environment in all areas of our business," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "The NFL has strived to reduce the environmental impact of its events and leave a positive green legacy in host communities."

Pepsi drones also are expected to drop swag and merch for spectators. Facemasks are encouraged.

» Photos via NFL, Bleacher Report.


The Gunk Report

For the Blue-Green Algal Bloom Weekly Update from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, tap here. For DEP's Algal Bloom Sampling Map, tap here.

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