David Boles says that alone is reason enough to keep the river clean.
This weekend will feature the 15th annual Green River Cleanup hosted by the Deerfield River Watershed Association as part of the Connecticut River Conservancy’s Source to Sea Cleanup, a yearly environmental endeavor along the Connecticut River watershed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Boles, who works part-time for the conservancy, organizes the two-day event aimed at improving the water health and beauty.
Approximately 200 students from Greenfield Middle School and Four Rivers Charter Public School will roll up their sleeves for the cleanup from 9:30 a.m. to noon Friday. Teams of volunteers will clean from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Boles said the cleanup will for the third consecutive year include a massive tire removal in which 600 to 800 tires will be taken out of a Colorado Avenue ravine that leads into the Green River. He said 800 tires were removed last year and the year before that. Boles said the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office will provide inmates and deputies to help remove tires, and members of the Greenfield Fire Department will hose down the tires.
“There were 4,000 to 6,000 tires in there initially,” Boles said, adding that Lane Construction also provides assistance, and the Greenfield Department of Public Works hauls away trash. “It’s kind of a real collective effort here.”
He said there are about 30 sponsors for Saturday’s effort. He also said volunteers are still needed. Those interested can call the Connecticut River Conservancy at 413-772-2020, ext. 211. There will be cleanup at 25 to 30 sites along the Green River, its tributaries and the general watershed, Boles said.
He recommends people wear long pants and sturdy footwear and bring rakes, shovels and their own beverage container.
Boles said his son, Noah, started the Green River Cleanup with an environmental studies group as a student at Greenfield Community College.
“Some really unbelievable things have been pulled from our rivers, including a cement mixer, parking meters, propane tanks, and junk cars,” says Stacey Lennard, the conservancy’s cleanup coordinator.
In Greenfield, multiple junk cars will be removed from a small brook near the Green River in Murphy Park, with help from Nartowicz Tree Services.
The conservancy this year asks participants and everyone who enjoys the rivers to demand a stop to trashed waterways. A petition to pressure legislators and corporate decision-makers to implement solutions to reduce trash is available at bit.ly/2xRk3HQ.
“Our goal is to keep trash and tires from getting in our rivers in the first place and to eventually put ourselves out of the business of cleaning up our rivers. We all have a responsibility to solve this problem-individuals, manufacturers, businesses, and government,” said Andrew Fisk, the organization’s executive director.
To find a nearby cleanup group near you, visit bit.ly/2Dz7Cqq, and click on “Join a Group.”
Reach Domenic Poli at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.