A River Cleanup Virtual Tour


Rivers are a vital resource for the communities they touch. When we think of the wide array of benefits a clean and healthy river has on a community it is easy to see why people from all walks of life are drawn to caring for its well-being. With so many potential river stewards out there how do we connect with people who we don’t know yet?

Storytelling can be a powerful tool for growing our river cleanups. When we tell the story of our river cleanup we are not only providing information about the cleanup like the number of volunteers and how much trash we cleaned up, we are also sharing our values. Through the sharing of values we make connections, even in the most unlikely of places, and build community wide support for protecting and preserving our river.

National River Cleanup® worked with REI, one of our supporters, to share the story of a local organization in the National River Cleanup network using the National Geographic Geostories map. 

The West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) organizes two community wide cleanups in Grand Rapids, MI each year, The Mayors’ Grand River Cleanup and the Grand River Greenup. Together in 2013 these two river cleanups involved over 1000 volunteers and cleaned up over 20,000 pounds of trash from the Grand River!

As you move through the images on the GeoStories map you’ll see the story of WMEAC and how river cleanups positively impact the Grand River and all of those who use the river. The work of WMEAC is a perfect example of how river cleanups can create and promote river stewardship. In 2010 WMEAC’s Mayors’ Grand River Cleanup had 250 volunteers and in 2013 that number has grown to over 800!

I believe that this one story reflects the values and accomplishments of the hundreds of other river cleanup stories from around the country in the National River Cleanup network.

Share your story with National River Cleanup and submit your cleanup photos to the 2013 National River Cleanup Contest today!