Hardy souls show up to gather trash along the Red Clay

The kids from Kennett High School National Honor Society get their bags and gloves ready to pick up trash along the Red Clay Creek on Sunday.
The kids from Kennett High School National Honor Society get their bags and gloves ready to pick up trash along the Red Clay Creek on Sunday. Chris Barber — Digital First Media

KENNETT SQUARE >> The volunteers who committed to clean up the land around the Red Clay Creek on Sunday morning didn’t back out on their promise, even though the weather took a nose dive overnight.

Originally scheduled for March 24, the event was postponed because there was snow on the ground, and it would have been difficult — if not impossible — to find the trash. The replacement date was set for April 15.

But following two days on sunshine and high temperatures Friday and Saturday, a back door cold front slid in on Saturday night bringing chill and drizzle to southern Chester County for Sunday morning.

As the 8 a.m. starting time grew near, Brandywine Red Clay Alliance staff at the registration table in the YMCA outdoor pool parking lot expressed fears that the turnout would be less than spectacular. Nonetheless, the hardy kids from Unionville High School Interact, Kennett High School National Honor Society and Boy Scout Troop 22 in addition to environmentally aware individuals of all ages stayed true to their commitments and arrived ready for their task. Their spirits were high and they appeared oblivious to the chilly mist that was coming down around them.


The Red Clay Cleanup is an annual event that has been going on for more than 20 years in the spring. It is cosponsored by the Delaware Nature Society and sweeps 90 miles of stream and roadways along the creek, including Kennett Square going south through Yorklyn and Hockessin, Delaware, and the back roads of Kennett Township.

When they signed in, the volunteers received a T-shirt, protective gloves, reflective vests and trash bags. They were given their assigned territories to pic up trash. Volunteers also checked in at Anson B. Nixon Park and the Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin, Delaware.

Their task was to pick up trash, put it in bags and lay them by the side of the road. The bags were then picked up by truck and taken to the SECCRA landfill in London Grove.

After their check-in, the volunteers also received doughnuts and Starbucks coffee.

Last year, 680 volunteers participated to collect more than 13 tons of trash.

“Volunteers work hard but most also consider it great fun and an opportunity for family and neighbors to get together,” said Jim Jordan, chair of the Red Clay Clean Up project.

This community event is also sponsored by Mt. Cuba Center, Red Clay Valley Scenic Byway Alliance, Kennett Area Park Authority, Phillips Mushroom Farms, Wild Birds Unlimited-Hockessin, DE, WSFS, Constellation, Chandler Funeral Home, Delaware state Sen. Greg Lavelle, Starbucks Coffee Company, Chatham Financial, Suez Water Delaware, Bike Delaware, Marty’s Contracting and others.

About the Author

Chris Barber

Chris Barber is the editor of the Avon Grove Sun. She was previously southern bureau chief of the Daily Local News and editor of the Kennett Paper, earning honors in writing and photography. Reach the author at agsun@kennettpaper.com .