Twenty Years of Cleaning the Black River

Twenty Years of Cleaning the Black River

posted Sunday, October 4, 2020

Celebrating the group's 20th anniversary, the Black River Action Team chalks up another successful year of cleaning trash from the bed and banks of our local waterways. Dozens of volunteers worked at various locations over the course of several months, in targeted cleanups of specific sites.

Among the season's "finds" were 90 tires, a pair of wading boots, a camp chair, an entire picnic camp (including a charcoal grill), and dozens of bags of food wrappers, cigarette trash, bottles, cans, personal items, and face masks.

Volunteers in Springfield traversed the entire Toonerville Trail recreation path, removed a stash of tires from the water in two separate locations, tidied up Hoyt's Landing every weekend, and scoured the river banks for several miles throughout the summer.

Public school students and home learners in Cavendish and Ludlow organized into "quaran-teams" with teachers and adult volunteers to tackle several river sites in those communities. In addition to several bags of trash, these intrepid kids removed an enormous amount of the invasive plant Japanese knotweed, known to take over entire streambanks and crowd out all native vegetation as well as increase erosion.

The Springfield volunteers were graciously fed on RiverSweep Day by volunteers with the Calvary Baptist Church, who brought a grill and all the works to cook up hot dogs for everyone, which were purchased with a generous donation from Heritage Engineering, along with chips from Deep River Snacks. The student volunteers enjoyed pizza donated by Goodman's American Pie of Ludlow.

BRAT Director Kelly Stettner wishes to thank each and every donor (all are listed alphabetically on this year's super red tee shirts) for their generous support of the RiverSweep and all the BRAT's programs; additionally, the cleanup crews who really got down 'n' dirty this year to help keep the Black River clean and healthy. Learn more about BRAT at or by sending a message to Kelly at [email protected] or (802) 738-0456.

(Photo by Kelly Stettner; pictured husband and wife team Steve and Maura Anderson, posing with a tub of trash they collected from the lowest mile of the Black River; tires and other trash were gathered by other volunteers and represent just the tip of the proverbial iceberg for the 21st annual RiverSweep cleanup.)

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