Riverkeeper Report: Volunteers made Clean Rivers Day a success

Published 9:01 am Friday, April 8, 2011

For the 11th year in a row, the Blackwater Nottoway Riverkeeper Program had another successful Clean Rivers Day on Saturday.

It was a perfect day for a cleanup. Individuals, groups, families and organizations helped spruce up the Blackwater/Nottoway River watershed and our community once again. As of Tuesday night, I still have teams that have not called in with their totals. So the teams listed are those who confirmed they participated and from those this data is derived.

This year, 26 teams participated with a total of 234 volunteers.

They were Team Hugh Raulston, Team Joanna Bickham, Zuni Ruritans, Cub Scout Pack 27, Team Dean Wagenbach, Team Bobby Turner, Wolf Pack 17, Team John Jones, Nottoway River Yacht Club, Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, Joyner-Gray-Yale Ruritans, Ashland/Hercules, Blackwater Outfitters/Nottoway River Guides, Bronco Club, Cornith Friends Meeting, Franklin Garden Club, Franklin Atlas Group, Franklin Black Achievers, Team Gretchen Gonzalez, Ivor Ruritans, Team Milton Beale, Three Rivers Bass Club, YMCA Leaders Club, Team Lynda Updike and Team Felice Hancock.

The total weight of all the trash bags collected, weird stuff and other junk was an astounding 6,153 pounds. That included 41 tires and some strange items to boot. Things like a computer monitor, old washing machine, a bathtub and a microwave oven.

But I think the top weird item found goes to the Ivor Ruritans, who found and removed a skunk pelt! Whew!!

Top heavy hitters this year with the most weight collected were the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, bringing in 1,040 pounds from the Carey’s Bridge area along the Nottoway. Largest number of volunteers participating was the Franklin Black Achievers with 53 hard working souls.

Everyone who participated on Clean Rivers Day are heroes in my book and should be in yours. They spent their Saturday making your and my homeland a better place.

I also have to thank Southampton County, City of Franklin, The Litter Control Council and Virginia Department of Transportation for all their help. Without that help year after year, CRD could not be a success.

I hope I have not missed anybody; it’s a lot to keep up with. I also want to thank Anne Parker for helping me so much. Her amazing ability to motivate and get folks involved is awesome.

It would be truly something to behold if CRD totals eventually dwindle down to zero, and we would not even have to hold anymore CRD events. I doubt that I will live to see that, but I do believe all these dedicated volunteers have made the place we call home a much better place to live. Thank you all.

JEFF TURNER is riverkeeper for the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper Program, an environmentally conscious organization that focuses on keeping local waterways healthy. BNRP’s parent organization is The Waterkeeper Alliance. Contact Turner at his website, www.blackwaternottoway.com.