Does anybody need a lug wrench? That was our prize litter item today. Amanda and I covered the north end from Newby's Bridge Road to the Swift Creek bridge. The heavy rain of the past week flushed out litter that has been hiding, out of sight on previous cleanups. Such is usually the case when the ditches fill with rushing water.
Another day, another bag of litter, and the road, at least the north section, is once again presentable.
I don't know for how many years the Friends group has been participating in Clean Virginia Waterways, but I've been site captain now for three years, taking over for Joel Webber before me. We had a small turnout today, perhaps because the weather wasn't appealing. It was okay, though, no rain, just a now-and-then cool breeze. Still, the volunteers collected about five bags of litter. Our only watercraft cleanup members, the Keys, filled two bags and said they would be back for more. It's a never-ending task, but one that needs to be done. One of the volunteers took advantage of his litter scavenging walk to take photographs of birds and fungus. One of the advantages of doing this "work" as a volunteer is that we are free to work at our own pace and to allow ourselves to "stop and smell the roses".
Our beautiful Swift Creek Lake, unfortunately, suffers from the downstream effects of common environmental pollutants. One of those pollutants is ordinary litter, brought down Swift Creek in runoff from the many streets, roads and suburbs in the upstream watershed. In observance of Earth Day, Pocahontas State Park and FoPSP hosted a lake cleanup, in which volunteers used the park's kayaks and canoes to go out in search of water-borne litter. The day started out cool but the weather was beautiful and the wildlife observations were bountiful. It was a fun event, good exercise in fresh air, and rewarding to cleanse the lake of at least a portion of the unsightly floating litter.
Our Clean Virginia Waterways litter cleanup event this morning was supported by three Virginia Master Naturalists, at least a couple of FoPSP members and 17 other area residents, including seven students from an ecology club. It was frosty until the sun hit the grass, but windless, so there was no bite to the air and mist was rising from the water. Several brave souls went out in watercraft to scour the shoreline of the lake, while the rest explored the trails and wooded areas in the area of the boat launch. When everybody had returned with their collected items, we had six bags of trash, weighing around 18 pounds.
Our efforts are just a tiny part of the International Coastal Cleanup sponsored by Ocean Conservancy and coordinated in Virginia by Longwood University. The end result is not just a cleaner park and lake, but the prevention of this litter adding to contamination of the Chesapeake Bay and of course the Atlantic Ocean. The staff of the Pocahontas State Park and the coordinators at Clean Virginia Waterways pass along their thanks for our participation.