Taking out the trash with REI

On a cool, crisp morning in late September, I had the privilege of joining 150 REI employees, local organizations, volunteers and citizens of Bedford County on the banks the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River in Pennsylvania. This annual river cleanup is made possible thanks our generous sponsors, REI.

The cleanup not only doubled in size since 2010, but expanded through beautification efforts such as weeding and bulb planting, led by a group of children of all ages. The enthusiasm of the crowd at 8:00am on a Saturday morning was incredible.

As we rolled up our sleeves, put on our gloves, and divided into teams with our trash bags in hand, the team leaders directed volunteers to seven different sites along the river to maximize our cleanup efforts.

By early afternoon we had collected over 4 tons of trash and accumulated 550 service hours on the river!

We gathered for a well-deserved (and trash free!) BBQ lunch by the river, while we compared our trash collections.

As the new National River Cleanup® Campaign Manager, I’m inspired by all ways in which rivers connect us – even through trash.

I am looking forward to getting my hands dirty in 2012 for the most successful National River Cleanup Campaign yet!