By Steve Likovetz
Staff writer

University of West Florida students and staff working together with Keep Pensacola Beautiful got their hands dirty on Saturday to help beautify the Mt. Zion Historical Cemetery.

The monthly clean-up is the last cemetery project in the Pensacola city limits. Catherine Eddins, community outreach coordinator for the UWF Archaeology Institute, spearheaded the event.

Volunteers from UWF and Keep Pensacola Beautiful come together to help beautify Mt. Zion Historical Cemetery on Saturday. (Photo by Steve Likovetz)

“This community has asked us for help,” Eddins said, “so we are here with Keep Pensacola Beautiful and St. Michaels Cemetery Foundation to clean up overgrown vegetation.”

Keep Pensacola Beautiful’s mission is “to empower citizens to improve their community environment by focusing on individual and neighborhood responsibility.”

“Our three main focuses are beautification, recycling education, and litter awareness and prevention,” according to their website. “To accomplish these goals, we rely on volunteers from our community!” 

Ty Briggs, KBP member and UWF senior, was in attendance for the clean-up.

“We’re always happy to have volunteers come out on a beautiful day and help beautify Pensacola,” Briggs said.

The importance of this project was evident by the amount of people who gave up part of their Veterans Day weekend to come help. Andrew Turner, a senior at UWF, came out early to be a part of this effort.

“Being that it is Veterans Day, to come out here and clean up a historical site with some of these soldiers who fought and died, we owe it to them,” Turner said. “It’s a tribute to them and to anyone else from this area who has been laid to rest here.”

UWF junior Shayne Dunn carefully mows around the overgrown grave site at Mt. Zion Historical Cemetery on Saturday. (Photo by Steve Likovetz)

Dustin Krohn, a USMC veteran and junior accounting major at UWF, also gave up part of his Veterans Day to come serve.

“Being a veteran, I am totally down with sacrificing a day to come out here and help clean up,” Krohn said. “There are WWII vets, at least one Korean War vet that I saw, so I am ok sacrificing a Saturday morning to help.”

The cemetery has been so neglected that most of the grounds cannot be seen through the thick brush and vegetation. Isabel Valentine Burtis of Pensacola lives across the street from the cemetery android she applauds the efforts of the volunteers.

“When we see all of them out there, we feel so happy and blessed that it’s going to look beautiful again,” Burtis said.

Keep Pensacola Beautiful has monthly events throughout the year and volunteers are always needed. Their next clean-up event will be at Wayside Park on November 18. Visit for more information on how you can help.

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