Hundreds of volunteers turned out on a chilly, blustery Saturday morning for what organizers are calling one of the best events of its kind in recent years.
The Red Clay Valley Association held its 25th annual cleanup of roads and stream banks throughout the region, covering two states and pulling in thousands of pounds of trash in just a few short hours.
Red Clay executive director Jim Jordan called this Saturday’s cleanup one of the most successful ever, with roughly 65 miles of roads and streams being covered in four hours.
Jordan said that while he didn’t have an accurate number with respect to how much garbage was collected, volunteers managed to fill three 30-cubic-foot Dumpsters with refuse and a fourth Dumpster with just tires.
“I couldn’t have got another tire in there if I tried,” he said.
The cleanup included Anson B. Nixon Park and the Kennett area pool, both in Kennett Square, as well as portions of the Red Clay stream from the Ashland Nature Preserve in Delaware to the Kirkwood Highway.
Jordan said that part of the cleanup’s goal is to expand its scope each year, with portions of South Street and the railroad tracks being added for 2013.
The roughly 70 or so volunteers who turned up at Anson B. Nixon Park made short work of their task, with many returning to the pavilion as early as 9:30 with their sacks lightly filled.
“We covered the park thoroughly, including some of the surrounding areas along the stream corridor,” said site coordinator and KAPA member Janice Taylor.
She added that the park is cleaner each year, through the efforts of both cleanups like the RCVA hosts and the maintenance crews who routinely patrol the property.
“There’s still a great deal of trash that gets blown in that’s otherwise dumped along the roadsides, but it’s really been pretty clean within the boundaries of the park,” she said.
Other groups, Jordan said, didn’t have it so easy.
“We had crews out there pretty late today, and they covered a tremendous amount of ground,” he said. “It was just incredible.”
Kennett High School student Deysi Gonzalez said that despite the cold, it beats sitting around bored at home.
“Plus we’re out here helping our community,” she said. “And it’s entertaining.”
Area groups that participated in the cleanup included Boy Scout Troop 22, the Kennett High School National Honors Society, the Real Charitable Housewives of Southeastern PA and the Unionville InterACT club.
In the preceding 24 years, 12,687 volunteers have donated over 50,000 volunteer hours and picked up 306 tons of trash, including many tires, large appliances and recyclables.
The annual Red Clay Valley Association cleanup is co-sponsored the Delaware Nature Society, with additional support from the Kennett Area Park Authority, Phillips Mushrooms, Wild Birds Unlimited, WSFS and others.