On Saturday, April 26, volunteers picked up trash in Waltham as part of the 15th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup. In a collaboration led by Charles River Watershed Association(CRWA), volunteers from over 120 groups throughout the watershed worked together to remove litter and debris, eradicate invasive species, and remove graffiti in an effort to beautify the Charles River and surrounding parklands.
Celebrating its 15th year, the Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup not only gives over 3,000 volunteers an opportunity to serve Waltham as stewards of the Charles River parklands, but also provides participants a connection to the river that far outlasts this one day event.
Volunteers braved the steady rain and chilly temperatures to beautify the Charles River Reservation and other local parks by picking up trash, raking away old leaves and removing invasive weeds. Frequent items found included bottles, cigarette butts, and styrofoam cups.
This annual event provides volunteers the opportunity to have a sustained connection with the Charles River while contributing to improved river health. Lisa Menelly, a volunteer at the Shaws Market site in Waltham explained "This is our fourth year volunteering and we love this event. It's amazing how far the Charles River has improved since I was a kid.”
Following the Cleanup, volunteers celebrated their hard work with one of three picnics rewarding participants for a productive morning of community service. On the Esplanade, a speaking program featuring Charles River Watershed Association's Executive Director Bob Zimmerman, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner David Cash, Senator William Brownsberger, Charles River Conservancy's Executive Director Renata von Tscharner, and the Esplanade Association's Executive Director Kate Fichter was followed by a lunch donated in part by Whole Foods Market and Hyatt Regency. JetBlue Airlines provided entertainment and volunteer appreciation gift bags.
Joining a movement across the country, the Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup is a part of American Rivers' National River Cleanup®, which to date, has removed over 4 million pounds of trash from America’s waterways. Volunteers received an Official Cleanup T-shirt designed by Massachusetts College of Art and Design student Frank Koran.
A team of diverse local organizations assisted CRWA including the Charles River Conservancy, the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, The Esplanade Association, Green Decade Newton, Senator Will Brownsberger’s Office, and the Waltham Land Trust.
Formed in 1965, CRWA uses science, advocacy, the law and the help of volunteers to protect and restore the Charles River and its watershed. CRWA uses its science-based understanding of the watershed to define effective, long-term solutions to the river's problems, and to promote cutting-edge, sustainable water management practices. As a result of CRWA’s efforts over the last 50 years, the Charles River, once one of the most degraded rivers on the East Coast, is now considered the cleanest urban river in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Major sponsors of the Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup include JetBlue Airways and Mix 104.1. Other sponsors include Cleanup Advocates Leinenkugel, Massachusetts Service Alliance and Whole Foods Market and Cleanup supporters American Rivers, Amgen, Bernardi Auto Group, Boston Univeristy, The Cadmus Group, Inc., Chestnut Hill Realty, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Hyatt Regency, Momenta Pharmaceuticals, and Woodard and Curran. Cleanup Friends include Bertucci’s, Boston Marriott Newton Hotel, Budget Dumpster, Cambridge Biomedical, Inc., Charlesgate Yacht Club, Community Boating, Inc., Honest Tea, Knucklebones, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Newton Yacht Club, REI, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, Stop and Shop, Triumvirate Environmental, Watertown Community Foundation, Watertown Yacht Club and White Corporation.
For more information about the Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup, please visit www.charlesriver.org/cleanup.html