Instructions for any other group that may want to clean this site:
Does your club, civic organization, scouting troop or school need a very worthwhile project? Keeping this memorial site clean will be a team project. I hope you'll consider doing what we did. Here's some information you'll need to tackle this very worthwhile project.
Our group needed about 40 man hours to do the job. That was 10 people for about 4 hours each. But then again, the site was in very bad shape with some weeds 4' high. Plan your start time to avoid the heat of the afternoon. There is NO shade at this site. Take lots of fluids to drink.
Finding the site. To find the site by using GPS: 25 45.70N 080 40.30W This is an aerial picture of the memorial site taken before it was built. The memorial is NE of the tall structure that crosses the East-West canal. The site is about 11.5 miles East of Krome Ave. (SW 177 Ave) on US 41, aka Tamiami Trail or SW 8th Street in Miami. Once you get off of US 41, it is accessible by a dirt road that any car can handle.
Try to get everyone involved. Some can bend over and pull weeds, some can't, so adjust the jobs as needed. Generally, suggest things that need to be done and everyone will find something they can physically do to help.
Remember, you're in the Everglades. There are lots of things here that bite. Look out for ants. They can be anywhere. When you pull out a weed, there's a chance it will bring up a whole nest. Have ant killer ready. As mad as they were, they didn't bite anyone in our group; we were lucky. Make sure no one with an allergy to ants pulls weeds. There are also wasps in the area, but they were feeding on the weeds. We didn't see any nests. Keep children away from the canals. There are alligators and snakes in the Everglades. We are the visitors in their home.
Pull the weeds from the area between the columns. If they're large, try not to lift the bricks as you pull them out. Be sure to get the roots out. Some will break off at the ground. Use the small pickaxe to pull out the root ball. If you're tempted to just cut the week off at ground level, you're not helping much. The root will regrow the weed in no time. Everything must come out. Just pull the weeds and throw them to the perimeter or center sidewalk. Another person will sweep these to an edge and carry them to a trash pile. Remember that the cut off weeds are loaded with seeds. Try not to spread them around if you can avoid it.
Someone else comes around with the push broom. Sweep the bigger bits out of the isles. Level out the sand between the bricks. Use a narrow broom to get between the columns. The goal is to get the sand level with the top of the bricks. If you're short some sand, add it, if you have too much, brush it somewhere that needs more. Over time, we'll need to add more. It's a specific type of sand used when installing pavers. It's available at home stores, but I can't think of the name. Limestone sand? We were able to get some from the what we swept up from the sidewalks.
You won't get ever every single weed. If they're just a couple inches tall, the weed killer will get them. Start with the big stuff. Your backs will give out before you run out of weeds.
Get someone to push a Bush Wacker, or walk around with a weed wacker. There are too many tall weeds for most lawn mowers to handle without stalling. Get around the edges of the memorial, and to the West, that's where people park. You'll use a lot of line, coral rock eats the stuff. Make sure everyone wears eye protection. You will throw a lot of rocks with what ever device you use. Rake up the weeds that are laying on the ground, plus the ones from within the memorial, plus any manmade trash and pile it up on the lower road. A Miccosukee Police officer told us to leave them on that road and they'll be picked up.
Leave any non-biodegradable personal items where they were. Dead flowers, wreaths and anything else that looks like it's past it's prime should be thrown out.
It might help if someone could make it to the site monthly to make a sweep with week killer. Unfortunately, this will need to be done often and weed killer concentrate is expensive. But the more often the weeds are killed, the less work needs to be done at each clean up session.
Let me know by e-mail if you're planning a trip to clean up this memorial. It would be nice to coordinate cleanup trips so we get them spaced evenly around the year. I know your group will find this to be a very rewarding project.