If it’s even possible, Madra Medina McDonald has become her own client.
The Miramar Beach publicist, who normally gets paid to promote other people’s businesses and agendas, is spending time promoting her own: the need to educate spring breakers about their impact on local beaches.
“If we see a difference, it will pay me tenfold,” McDonald said of her new campaign. “If I can drive down the road during spring break and not see a ton of trash along the scenic route, that would be absolutely beautiful.”
McDonald’s decision to make a difference was sparked after seeing some photos of spring breakers and their trash that a friend had posted on Facebook.
“Something in me just snapped,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is crazy and we have to do something about this.’ ”
She said she realizes that for many people the solution is just to discourage college students from visiting the area. She wouldn’t mind that, but is focusing on educating those who do come on the importance of keeping the beaches clean.
She plans to reach out to colleges in the Southeast as well as high school students who will visit the area in the future.
“We don’t want to create any negative energy. We want to raise awareness,” she said. “There’s no need to keep littering from 10 in the morning till 6 at night and then stumble off the beach drunk.”
The first step is to document the problem, and she has spent hours on the beach talking to lifeguards, students, sheriff’s deputies and a few snowbirds.
Although a cleaning service sweeps the beach of the trash left by spring breakers, some of it inevitably gets left behind and affects the environment, McDonald said. What that means for spring breakers, though, is that they can trash the beach and come back in the morning to find it pristine so they can trash it again.
She hopes that an educational program will be ready by mid- to late-summer.
“There are some good kids out there and they need to be educated a little more,” she said.
“We’re going to make it fun and we’re going to make it positive. I don’t think we can change every kid, but out of 10, maybe we can change six or seven.”