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River Kidz gears up for trip to DC in fight against toxic algae

Posted at 9:58 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-25 19:57:22-04

Activists, boaters, homeowners raising the alarm as more algae continues to pop up along the Treasure Coast.

Now a group of local kids will pack their bags and hit the road in hopes of their voices will be heard in the battle against blue green algae.

The group is called River Kidz, which formed in 2011. They're gearing up for yet another year of action against algae, starting with a trip to the national's capital in just a few days for a special mission.

"We're just here to raise awareness for our cause," said Thomas Weiler, a River Kidz member in high school.

The kids are working to ensure the waters they call home in Martin County are safer. Some of the kids joined the group after seeing the devastation of the green algae in 2016, including middle school student Bliss Weiler, who participates in recreational rowing with her mother.

"When we were rowing, we would see animals that were dying," she said. "It was shocking to see how many animals were dying because of this cause.”

River Kidz is made up of dozens of kids from elementary to high school. The group teaches the community and other children about the dangers of algae.

"Algae, if it gets in your bloodstream you can get super sick," said middle school student Jack benson, who has been a member of River Kidz since he was very young. "There's a lot of things that are harmful and not that many people know. So we just have to inform the community, because there's no signs, no danger."

His mother, Christina Maldonado, said she proud of her son and her kids for making the effort to protect their families and their community.

"Unfortunately, as proud as I am of him it makes me sad that he's been around this so long that he knows the facts better than most of the adults in the community," she said.

The group also hosts clean ups, educational outreach programs and even conducts protests for cleaner water.

"You can't swim in the river because it's not safe sometimes, you can't experience the things that your parents grew up doing. And it's just really sad," said Thomas.

This weekend, the kids will leave for Washington D.C to take part in Lagoon Action Day next Tuesday.

"I'm excited to get the politicians to hear my voice," said Bliss.

U.S. Congressman Brian Mast will connect them with key lawmakers like Sen. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, other Florida congressmen, and even the Army Corps of Engineers for a special meeting.

"The kids are ecstatic. It's a big deal," said Maldonado. "These kids have come such a long way. The more they understand about our government, the more helpful they can be in the years to come as this fight continues."

The River Kidz are always looking for new recruits. If you would like to get involved, it's really easy. Just click this link and fill out the form.