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Keep the beaches clean

The sun rises over Tyndall's Bonita Bay May 29. Bonita Bay is one of the many shorelines that surround Tyndall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Reel)

The sun rises over Tyndall's Bonita Bay May 29. Bonita Bay is one of the many shorelines that surround Tyndall. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Reel)

The least tern, American oyster catcher, the snowy plover and the black skimmer, and other shorebirds migrate to Tyndall AFB and the Panama City area for nesting, laying and hatching of their eggs. The 325th Civil Engineer Squadron with the help of partnerships with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Audubon of Florida, as well as volunteers, monitor these shorebirds during this period in an effort to protect them. (U.S. Air Force photos by Airman 1st Class Alex Echols)

The least tern, American oyster catcher, the snowy plover and the black skimmer, and other shorebirds migrate to Tyndall AFB and the Panama City area for nesting, laying and hatching of their eggs. The 325th Civil Engineer Squadron with the help of partnerships with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Audubon of Florida, as well as volunteers, monitor these shorebirds during this period in an effort to protect them. (U.S. Air Force photos by Airman 1st Class Alex Echols)

A newly-hatched loggerhead sea turtle crawls to the water after being released by 325th Civil Engineering Squadron Natural Resources surveyors Aug. 23 on Tyndall’s beaches. Natural Resources monitors and protects the sea turtles that come to Tyndall’s beaches to nest. They also compile data for Florida’s monitoring system on these nests including: where the nests are located, what species of turtles laid the nest and how many successfully hatched out of the nest. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alex Echols)

A newly-hatched loggerhead sea turtle crawls to the water after being released by 325th Civil Engineering Squadron Natural Resources surveyors Aug. 23 on Tyndall’s beaches. Natural Resources monitors and protects the sea turtles that come to Tyndall’s beaches to nest. They also compile data for Florida’s monitoring system on these nests including: where the nests are located, what species of turtles laid the nest and how many successfully hatched out of the nest. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alex Echols)

There are more than 127 miles of shoreline that surround Tyndall. Tyndall's beaches are prime nesting sites for many endangered shorebirds and sea turtles.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Reel)

There are more than 127 miles of shoreline that surround Tyndall. Tyndall's beaches are prime nesting sites for many endangered shorebirds and sea turtles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Reel)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The summer months are a great opportunity to enjoy the many beaches in the area. However, it is important that beachgoers do their share to preserve the beaches, waterways and wildlife.

"It is very important to remove trash and pollution from these natural areas, because it can harm the environment and wildlife," said Wendy Jones, 325th Civil Engineer Squadron Natural Resources wildlife biologist.

Often marine debris will wash ashore or beachgoers will leave trash behind, which can be hazardous to marine life and shore birds.

"I was on the beach at Crooked Island East the other day and picked up two big handfuls of monofilament line that had been discarded on the beach," said Diane Bateman, 325th CES water programs manager. "Birds and other wildlife get tangled in the line and die."

Bateman always brings trash bags to the beach to pick up debris and trash while she's out there. She encourages beachgoers to do the same.

"Tyndall is home to numerous threatened and endangered species including nesting habitats to four species of sea turtles and many shorebirds," explained Bateman." "The sands along the Florida panhandle are unique and some of the whitest beaches in the world. We need to take care of it."

Every fall, Team Tyndall participates in the annual International Coastal Cleanup, but in the meantime patrons should still do their share to preserve the beaches and local wildlife.

Click shorebirds and sea turtles to learn more about Tyndall's endangered or threatened species and the work being done to preserve them.