Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Creek and Lakefront Cleanups

Embrace the Lake!
Spring 2012 ushers in the third year of encouraging community groups to Embrace Cayuga Lake with creek and lakefront cleanups. What better way to show our love for the creeks and lake at the center of our lives?

What: We are embracing and encircling Cayuga Lake with creek and lakefront cleanups, starting this spring and into early summer. Thirty-four major creeks drain to the lake, along with hundreds of small straight streams. The Network organizes a rolling schedule of weekend creek and waterfront cleanups around the lake. We invite individuals, families, schools, churches, Scouts and community groups to commit to a local cleanup. In 2011, twenty groups took part – almost completely encircling the lake!

A Spring Clean for the Network: If you would rather keep your feet dry, hold a garage sale for the benefit of the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network! Garage sales reuse and recycle, keeping waste out of the landfill. It's a great complement to the stream clean-ups. Contact us for suggestions on how to do this.

When: Groups are already scheduling cleanups for mid- and late March. A rolling schedule will keep these cleanups going until the plants grow too high for effective cleanups, in early to mid-May. The first cleanups are in Ithaca on March 31 – watch for the list later this week!

Where: Anywhere in the Cayuga Lake Watershed, where waters are flowing in the direction of Cayuga Lake. Do you have a favorite neighborhood creek or wetland, where trash has built up? Here is your chance to get that cleaned up. Was your picnic spot or shoreline area along the lake marred by garbage, last fall? Let’s get that stuff out of there!

Who: Individuals, families, schools, churches, Scouts, community groups. You! As a group organizes for a cleanup, we’ll help pick a good spot along the chosen creek or waterfront area that is safe for all ages and approved by landowners, and get the word out via email, a press release to local newspapers, radio, etc. We are only asking for a couple of hours of volunteer time to pick up trash and clean up around a carefully-selected area.

You can join a group that is already organized, or start your own.
To start your own group and cleanup event, we’ll help you organize the following details:
  • A coordinator for your group – name, contact information (preferably both phone and email).
  • You might want to come up with a fun name for your group and cleanup!
  • A cleanup location – safe, easy-to-get-to with nearby parking, and landowner permission to be there. We’ll need clear directions to provide to volunteers who want to show up on the date.
  • A time period for the cleanup (two to four hours at most) and raindate.
  • Publicity – a short news release for local newspapers, radio stations, and other places you suggest (we’ll help write that and send it out).
  • Garbage bags to fill, and someone to collect and dispose of them properly afterwards (we’ll help organize the pickup, and will provide garbage bags, and gloves to wear).
  • A sign-in sheet for all participants (we can provide one if needed).
  • Signed safety waivers for all participants (we can provide a template if needed).
  • Adult supervision and permissions for all youngsters.
  • Appropriate clothing and footwear.
  • Refreshments.
  • Someone to take photos and keep notes of what you collect.
Afterwards, we’ll want to know:
How many bags of garbage did you collect?
What was the grossest thing you found?
What was the largest thing you found?
What was the weirdest thing you found?
How would you improve this event for next year?
Awards will be made for Best, Most, Largest, Weirdest, etc!

Business Sponsorships: We are seeking donations from area businesses to help support this project. Please contact steward@ycaugalake.org if you are interested.

How to Get Involved:
Contact the Network at the following email addresses and let us know you want to get involved: abenning@wells.edu or steward@cayugalake.org. You can also leave us a message at 607 319-0475. Watch for information on our Web site www.cayugalake.org and  at our Facebook page by late March – we’ll list groups with contact information and can add yours.

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