South Orange Community River Cleanup Returns May 2

by The Village Green
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From South Orange Environmental Commission & Green Team:

Spring is in full swing with flowers blooming, trees leafing out, and birds nesting. All that beauty makes the sight of trash in our river more jarring so it must also be time for River Day! The South Orange Green Team and Environmental Commission invite everyone to join in the annual cleanup of the South Orange section of the Rahway River by collecting the accumulated garbage that threatens the wild life, water quality, and aesthetics of our river.

“River Day is a way of taking responsibility for the local environment we share and the wider world. What we do here in our watershed matters because this isn’t just our river but a literal connection to communities downstream, the ocean, and the rest of the planet” said Bill Haskins, Chair of the Environmental Commission. Since 2011, River Day volunteers have collected several tons of garbage, some years filling multiple Public Works trucks in one day. “It’s always upsetting to me that there is so much trash in the river and at the same time so encouraging that dedicated volunteers, each doing a little bit, can remove so much of it. It’s a fantastic expression of our community!” exclaimed Walter Clarke, Village Trustee, and one of the founders of River Day.

Because of COVID, River Day will be run in a more socially distant way this year so that sense of community needs to be shared differently. The Green Team is asking participants, past and present, to use the hashtag “#SORiverDay” to take community digital. Experienced volunteers can share a trash collection hack, your go-to water wear, or your favorite spot on the river. All are encouraged to share what makes the river special for them and the weirdest, biggest, most unusual, or surprising items you find on the day of. Be creative and celebrate your River Day experience with others.

For the event, volunteers are encouraged to dress for the weather; wear boots or sturdy footwear that you don’t mind getting wet, a hat, sunscreen, gloves, and bring a reusable water bottle to quench your thirst (the benefits of reusability will become obvious after you see how many plastic and glass bottles and cans litter the river banks). Download a waiver form in advance from the town’s website (under “River Day”) to speed through the check in line where you will be greeted by members of South Orange Seniors. There you will also meet members of the South Orange Public Library with some special surprises.

Interested volunteers should check in on Sunday May 2nd any time from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. at the Skate House on the duck pond off of Mead St. (N. Ridgewood Rd and Meadowbrook Lane) in South Orange. For more information on River Day and other projects follow the South Orange Environmental Commission and Green Team on Facebook or Instagram @sogreenteam or their blog at https://sogreenteam.wordpress.com/

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