Cleaning Up A Creek Full of Memories In Manheim


Some huge tires were pulled out of the creek | © John Crispeno, Manheim Pennsylvania

Some huge tires were pulled out of the creek | © John Crispeno, Manheim Pennsylvania

It was one of those late summer mornings with a chill in the air. The sun shining through the trees warmed me while the Chiques Creek flowed below. On September 21st American Rivers joined 100 employees from Manheim Pennsylvania and Cox Conserves for their third annual river cleanup.

This year’s cleanup featured the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Manheim Auto Auction Exhibition Center.  At American Rivers we like to say that “rivers connect us” and by the end of that morning’s river cleanup the folks at Manheim would show me what that truly means.

I spent the morning leading the creek cleanup team but I could hardly keep up. The group members rolled up their sleeves and pants and headed straight into the brush, mud, and water to cleanup their creek. Everyone I talked to on the creek had a story of their own connecting them to the water. From preschool “creek stomping” trips, to a church ice cream social along the banks with a banana split so large it made the front page of the paper, to historic flooding decades ago, or to the annual fishing contest. At one point volunteers of all ages came together and carried a 50 foot piece of iron pipe a quarter mile down the creek.  The dedication the folks from Manheim showed to cleaning up the Chiques is inspiring.

As one volunteer and I looked back at the new exhibition center where another team  was planting flowers and trees she began to reminisce on the times her kids, now full grown and with families of their own, competed at the farm show. As the kids on our river cleanup team worked together to haul a tire out of the water it was hard not to imagine that one day they too would be reminiscing on the memories created along the creek and at the new exhibition center.

At the end of the day the volunteers from Manheim planted over 200 plants and cleaned over 800lbs of trash from the Chiques Creek. The numbers themselves are impressive but what is more impressive is Manheim’s and Cox Enterprises’ commitment to improving their communities year after year. National River Cleanup was proud to partner with Cox and Manheim and I personally look forward to attending another cleanup in Manheim next year.

Find out how you can support your river and community by organizing or volunteering in a cleanup today!

Check out some of the photos from the cleanup

Click to enlarge images.

  • Volunteers planted over 200 plants - © John Crispeno, Manheim Pennsylvania
  • A group of volunteers partnered up to remove a big piece of plywood - © American Rivers
  • Manheim Auto Auction Exhibition Center ribbon cutting - © John Crispeno, Manheim Pennsylvania
  • Some huge tires were pulled out of the creek - © John Crispeno, Manheim Pennsylvania
  • There were some big pieces of concrete and metal in the creek - © American Rivers
  • Volunteers carrying out a 50 foot pipe - © John Crispeno, Manheim Pennsylvania