The forecast called for 97 degrees by 11 a.m. — ugh. The hottest day of the year, and what was on my agenda? Hauling tires out of a river with volunteers. Well, quite a bit of planning had gone into it, so what else was there to do but pack a lot of water and get out there?
Yes, it was the hottest day of the summer, the day we could have had a blackout caused by heat. But Friday, July 22, turned out to be a great day because I was lucky enough to spend the morning with a fun and dedicated group of people and work with them to clean up a section of Howard County. There were about 100 teens and adult leaders from the local Youth Group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
This youth group had a choice of other volunteer projects, but they were excited about cleaning up the environment. And clean they did. They pulled 83 tires and an additional trailer of trash, mostly automotive, out of the water and banks of a section of the Dorsey Run River running through Jessup. They did a great job. Extra thanks go out to Janet Yarn who brought the project to the youth group and did a fantastic job organizing such a large group. Sorry about those spider webs, Janet! Our wonderful staff at Recreation and Parks provided the trucks and hauled away the tires for recycling.
This was our second attempt to get the mess out of the river. Our first was earlier this year, in April, during a region-wide project called Project Clean Stream. It was a different group of volunteers, and we ran out of time, energy and truck space to get the whole mess cleaned up.
There was a very unusual amount of tires and auto trash at this site, and it begs the question of where it is all coming from. Currently, the Maryland Department of the Environment is investigating it, and I hope that there will be some action taken. It is just not right to dump this stuff and even worse to get away with it. Who knows how much it would have cost to pay someone to do the work these volunteers did.
The next stream cleanup we have planned is coming up on Saturday, September 17, 2011. We’re going to a different site, still being chosen, but it will be in Howard County. The effort is part of the International Coastal Cleanup. Howard County isn’t exactly “coastal,” but trash in our streams will end up there, so it all helps. I don’t expect anything as hard as the tires. There may be a few, but it will probably be more of your regular trash, bottles and cans, etc. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410−313−1175 if you are interested in volunteering for that event. I’m going out on a limb here and guaranteeing that the weather will be cooler.
If you haven’t tried this type of thing yet, you might not believe me, but it’s actually fun. Not to mention rewarding in that warm fuzzy feeling kind of way.
Thanks again LDS Youth Group! You were amazing and you really made a difference out there this summer.
Elissa ReineckOES staff August 2011