NAUI Calls for Volunteers in Tampa Clean-Up Project

NAUI Green Diver Supports Local Conservation Efforts, Seeks Volunteers for the Annual GaspOur Beads of Tampa Bay Clean-Up Project

Tampa, Fla., (April 30, 2019) – The NAUI Green Diver Initiative is pleased to announce its continued support of the Center for Open Exploration (C4OE) annual surveying and coastal clean-up project, GaspOur Beads of Tampa Bay.

With a mini grant from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, NAUI collaborator Next Level Dive Club will host the Gasp–Our Beads of Tampa Bay event on Sunday, June 2 beginning at 7 a.m. (EST), and volunteers are needed! The project will take place on Davis Islands in downtown Tampa, Florida.

Volunteer boat captains, kayakers, ground/topside support, divers and non-divers are invited to join in the effort to rid the waterway, channel seawall, and trees along Davis Islands of toxic beads and debris while collecting data that can be used to help make better choices for future Gasparilla events held in Tampa.

GaspOur Beads of Tampa Bay aims to learn about the long-term effects and distribution of festival beads on the aquatic environment and eventually to also work with the community to identify feasible environmentally friendly options. Continued research and participation could provide the potential for more far-reaching collaboration and discussion of alternatives to plastic beads that sink. Options already being tested in some areas include biodegradable beads that would be less persistent in the environment and/or floating beads that could be more easily collected.

The NAUI Green Diver Initiative has been in support of the project for over three years with a continued commitment to reduce the impact of plastic party beads and trinkets on coastal waterways linked to Gasparilla Festival activities. The purpose of GaspOur Beads is not only to clean a measured section of the channel and seawall, but to quantify the distribution and abundance of beads and trinkets associated with Florida’s Gasparilla Festival, one of the largest events in the Tampa Bay region. This year, organizers will span a 0.5-mile distance along the channel with five total areas focused on bead removal – four designated for boat access and one area for seawall access.

Participating in this critical effort is just one way to assist in building awareness and establishing an involved community about water quality and plastic pollution in waterways. Additional volunteer support sought for the project includes sponsorship, boat usage or fuel, kayaks, catering, raffle gifts, scuba gear, and expertise in documenting the event and providing logistal top-side support. Marine biology students eager to gain experience in conducting citizen science projects are invited to be on hand as well.

“We are proud to call Hillsborough County home and look forward to continuing to build collaborations within our community,” said NAUI Executive Director Rick Lorimor. “As hoped, the project has inspired NAUI Green Divers and stewards from across the state to collaborate and continue this event.”

To learn more about this collaboration and get involved in the GaspOur Beads of Tampa Bay surveying and clean-up, contact Mica Neal at To sign up, visit

For 2017 Gasp–Our Beads Cleanup results, visit

To find out more about the Tampa Bay Estuary Mini Grant program, go to


Formed in 2010 by the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI Worldwide), in association with the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF), the Green Diver Initiative (GDI) empowers individuals to preserve and conserve our ocean planet. GDI is open to everyone, divers and non-divers with the common goal of taking action to protect the environment. For more information, please contact


The Center for Open Exploration (C4OE) is a Non Profit/Tax-Exempt organization in the state of Florida, dedicated to citizen science, technology, and education.