Forsythe gets pre-Sandy cleanup

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Volunteers from Tuckerton from left, Silvia, Nate, Mateo and Sofia Kirby, are frequent bird watchers attending their first Forsythe cleanup. Volunteers from Tuckerton from left, Silvia, Nate, Mateo and Sofia Kirby, are frequent bird watchers attending their first Forsythe cleanup.

GALLOWAY – They call it Make a Difference Day – the fall cleanup at the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.

Some 250 volunteers turned out Saturday, Oct. 27 while a storm was raging up the East Coast and getting ready to wreak havoc on whatever was left in the park.

And while Hurricane Sandy struck dead on the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 29, workers cleaned out a lot of stuff on Saturday.

“That’s a good total,” volunteer coordinator Sandy Perchetti said. “The most we ever had was 320.”

After a little thought, she decided that 250 volunteers working days ahead of a hurricane was more than just a good total.

“Considering the storm, people getting ready for it – this is a great total,” Perchetti said.

Her coordinating seemed almost automatic.

“The cleanups run themselves with the help of a lot of volunteers,” Perchetti said. “Many old hands have done this any number of times. We’re just getting better at it.”

The biannual cleanups are a partnership of the refuge and Galloway Clean Communities.

The Kirby family of four from Tuckerton was attending its first cleanup.

“We’ve been here a lot,” mom Silvia said. “We come to see the birds; go for walks. But this is our first time at a cleanup.”

Angela Patitucci of Egg Harbor Township was there with her daughters, Kayla and Katarina, and Kayla’s best friend Kelly Harper.

The kids attend St. Joseph Regional School in Somers Point and seventh graders Kayla and Kelly were earning eighth-grade confirmation points for school.

A group weeded near the main office building.

A group called Earth Shepherds was begun by Jamie Infanty at Absegami High School. It had eight volunteers including two adult advisors.

Earth Shepherds advisor Katy Cardwell said the group consists of self starters.

“They formed themselves,” she said. “They’re a great group.”

She said the group is now collecting flip flops to make park benches.

Infanty said rubberized tracks are also made from the popular plastic footwear.

From left are Egg Harbor Township residents Angela Patitucci; her daughter Kayla, with her best friend Kelly Harper – both seventh graders; and her other daughter, fourth-grader Katarina. From left are Egg Harbor Township residents Angela Patitucci; her daughter Kayla, with her best friend Kelly Harper – both seventh graders; and her other daughter, fourth-grader Katarina.

From left are Forsythe volunteer coordinator Sandy Perchetti, Ann Mari Morrison of Absecon, Mar-Jo Atack of Hamilton Township and Maris Buttacavoli of Ventnor. From left are Forsythe volunteer coordinator Sandy Perchetti, Ann Mari Morrison of Absecon, Mar-Jo Atack of Hamilton Township and Maris Buttacavoli of Ventnor.

Members of the Earth Shepherds volunteer group from left are Go Green Galloway parent advisor Mary Crawford, Connor Mott, Jordan Porch, Dimpie Shah, Earth Shepherds’ advisor Katy Cardwell, Rosa Polisano, Earth Shepherds’ vice president Richard Park and president Jamie Infanty. Members of the Earth Shepherds volunteer group from left are Go Green Galloway parent advisor Mary Crawford, Connor Mott, Jordan Porch, Dimpie Shah, Earth Shepherds’ advisor Katy Cardwell, Rosa Polisano, Earth Shepherds’ vice president Richard Park and president Jamie Infanty.


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