Volunteer Spotlight: Maruta Gardner

Today’s post was written by Maddy Blake, ILACSD’s Marketing Intern.

Maruta, left, with volunteers at Creek to Bay

To continue our celebration of the 10th anniversary of our signature event, the Creek to Bay Cleanup, this week’s volunteer spotlight is Maruta Gardner! Although Maruta began volunteering with I Love A Clean San Diego fourteen years ago, she fully dedicated herself to the organization by becoming a site captain for Santa Clara Point eight years ago and has been returning annually ever since. Located in Mission Beach, Santa Clara Point houses the Mission Beach Women’s Club, an organization that Maruta has been involved in for many years.

Like many of our site captains, Maruta resides in the same area that she oversees during the Creek to Bay Cleanup. This gives the captains a sense of personal responsibility towards their specific location and the overall success of the cleanup event. They, like Maruta, value their local community and want to ensure that its beauty and cleanliness are available for everyone to enjoy. By becoming a site captain, Maruta chose to become accountable for the Mission Beach area and the place she’s called home for so many years.

Maruta says that her favorite thing about being involved with the Creek to Bay Cleanup is, “seeing all of the parents who bring their kids to start them early on the path to community service.  It’s also great to see all of the student groups working together to improve the neighborhood.”

Full Q&A with Maruta

What motivated you to volunteer with ILACSD?   

For the 22 years we have lived in Mission Beach,  my husband and I have been involved in the community in numerous ways.  Keeping the beach clean has always been a high personal priority.  We were going around picking up trash on our own but when we learned about the efforts of ILACSD, we saw how effective the work of a group can be.

How long have you been volunteering with ILACSD?

At least 14 years on a regular basis.

How long have you been a site captain for Creek to Bay? 

8 years.

Have you always been a captain at the same site?

I have been an active member of the Mission Beach Women’s Club for many years.  MBWC is located at Santa Clara Place and Bayside Walk.  Santa Clara Point has been a clean up site for ILCASD and that’s where I started being a site captain.  We want to keep the neighborhood around the club clean for all to enjoy.

What is your favorite part of participating in the Creek to Bay cleanup?

The best part is seeing all of the parents who bring their kids to start them early on the path to community service.  It’s also great to see all of the student groups working together to improve the neighborhood.

Why do you think cleanups like Creek to Bay are important to keeping San Diego healthy and clean?

The cleanups bring awareness to the entire community about the negative effects of trash on our environment. They also encourage citizens and kids to get involved in making community improvements.

What is the strangest piece of trash you’ve found at a Creek to Bay Cleanup?

We mostly get tons of cigarette butts and food wrappers.  We’ve also had discarded underwear, shoes, and toys.  Nothing exotic.


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