I went to Eco - Action Cleanup number 845 at Lake Concord. Jef Shelby organizes this intrepid group of volunteers who use canoes to help clean up the garbage from Orlando's lakes. The Mission of ECO-Action, Inc., is to protect and preserve the natural environment by encouraging, creating, and supporting ecological education, responsible consumption, development of alternative energy sources, and public participation in addressing environmental issues.
Morgan Steele had volunteered to stay behind and watch the remaining canoes. He stopped over to see what I was working on. It turns out he is an artist himself. He loved that I was documenting the cleanup effort with sketches. He searched in the reeds next to me and pulled out a hypodermic needle. "Can you believe someone would shoot up behind a church." he asked. He then walked over to a shady spot under a huge live oak, sat down, and leaned back against a large cross. Jef wrote me a Facebook message a few weeks after the cleanup. "Since Morgan Steele's passing, I've thought about some of the Jungian signs that prophesied his death - and I think of that last painting you did of Eco-Action's clean-up at Lake Concord where he was taking a rest under the cross." On April 23rd, Morgan lost control of his car while driving back from Stardust Video and Coffee. His car slammed in some concrete constructions on Bumby. A memorial will be held for him around Memorial Day. The Herculean task of cleaning Orlando's lakes lives on. More Eco Warriors are always needed to stem the tide of a wasteful consumer society.
A whistle sounded and the canoes returned. Each canoe was filled wit yellow bags full of trash. The bags were stacked in a pile and everyone lined up for a group photo. Probably 30 full bags of garbage had been removed from the lake. More remained. The most unique finds, were a laptop computer, and a three foot white sign that said, "Church Parking Ahead." If anyone had followed that sign, their cars would be found on the bottom of the lake. If you ever want to make a difference while canoeing on a central Florida lake, be sure to look up Eco -Action Cleanup.