Volunteers Work to Make the Charles River a Bit Cleaner

In recognition of National Volunteer Week and Earth Month, over 3,500 people volunteered on Saturday, April 28, as part of the 19th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup.

In a collaboration led by Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), over 110 groups cooperated to pick up trash and debris and eradicate invasive species in an effort to beautify the Charles River and surrounding parklands.  Recognized for two consecutive years by American Rivers’ National River Cleanup for “Most Volunteers Mobilized,” the Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup provides thousands of volunteers an opportunity to serve as parkland stewards at sites throughout the Charles River watershed.

“I loved learning that the Charles River is the cleanest urban river in the country in part because of the work we do,” said Zoe Rath, a volunteer with Appalachian Mountain Club.

Through their service, volunteers like Rath deepen their connection to the Charles River while increasing their commitment to protect it.  Volunteers joined thousands of people across Massachusetts who came together for Park Serve Day, MassParks’ annual statewide day of volunteer service. The Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup is a part of American Rivers’ National River Cleanup, which to date, has removed over 25 million pounds of trash from America’s waterways.

During the cleanup volunteers removed litter including plastic bags, bottles, styrofoam, discarded electronics, and other items from parks and rivers in the Charles River Watershed. Following the Cleanup, volunteers celebrated their work with picnics at the Esplanade in Boston, Blue Heron Trail in Waltham and Sjtoddard Park in Holliston.

“The Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup is a wonderful event that engages volunteers from communities up and down the 80-mile long river,” said Kate Bowditch, director of stewardship at CRWA, “Charles River Watershed Association has been working to clean the Charles River since its founding in 1965. In that time the Charles River has gone from one of the dirtiest rivers in the country to the cleanest urban river in the United States today. We appreciate all the volunteers whose hard work enhances our mission to restore the Charles River.”

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