Community Gathers to Beautify the Watershed
Multiple community beautification, stewardship, and cleanup events happened across Genesee and Lapeer Counties on Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. until noon. As the sun came out, so did more than 320 volunteers across the watershed. Participants gathered afterwards to celebrate these accomplishments at appreciation lunches in Genesee and Lapeer counties with the biggest gathering happening at the original cleanup site, Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Park along the Flint River Trail on James P. Cole Blvd.
The community collected 412 bags of trash and filled an additional dumpster and disposed of 95 tires and 40 bags and two large dumpsters full of yard waste. In addition to trash cleanup sites, educational activities were added at some sites to help promote continued stewardship of the Flint River and its surrounding landscape.
Twenty-five volunteers were drawn to For-Mar for lessons on water quality monitoring and how to properly remove honey suckle and oriental bittersweet, two invasive species that plague our region. Other volunteers met at the Lewis Street Rain Garden and Flushing Township Nature Park for hands-on lessons regarding green landscaping as they spruced up the rain gardens. Volunteers who joined forces at Kearsley Park and Flushing Township Nature Park also worked on various beautification projects, including painting over graffiti and revamping an educational kiosk.
“We are thrilled to see people eager to learn more about what else they can do to improve stream health in our community and beyond,” said Autumn Mitchell, FRWC Education Programs Manager.
The Flint River Watershed Coalition (FRWC) awards the “Golden Gloves Award” to the person who finds the most unusual or interesting item retrieved during the event. Contenders for this year include those who found and removed TVs, shopping carts, a record player with broken Motown records, a toy army guy, ultrasound pictures, wooden paddles, life jackets, a truck topper, a Hamm’s beer can, and a safe. A public poll with all entries will be conducted and the winner will be awarded the Golden Gloves at FRWC’s Annual Celebration in January 2020.
This event is one of the area’s largest cleanup efforts and would not be possible without a number of sponsors, partners and volunteers. The FRWC would like to thank Genesee County Parks for providing trash pick-up, restrooms, site guidance and patrols as well as their Keep Genesee County Beautiful program for providing tools, bags and gloves for this event and their For-Mar staff for offering educational opportunities. The City of Flint and Rick Rhein Disposal are appreciated for providing multiple dumpsters for the event as well as Kettering University for providing trash removal, dumpsters, and the biggest army of volunteers contributing to this event. Special thanks to all site coordinators including those from FRWC partner organizations at the Lapeer and Friends of the Flint River Trail FRWC Chapters, the Mott Park Recreation Association, Flint Town Flyerz, Carriage Town Historic Neighborhood Association, the Genesee Conservation District, Applied Ecosystems, Genesee County Habitat for Humanity, Flint Park Lake Neighborhood Association, Ruth Mott Foundation, the City of Flushing, Flushing Parks and Recreation Committee, Flushing Township, and the Neighborhood Engagement Hub as well as to countless organizations who brought out groups of volunteers in support of this event!
Sites included in this year’s event were:
- Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Park
- Atwood Stadium
- Thread Lake @ McKinley Park Vista Center Area
- Habitat for Humanity
- Holloway Dam Canoe Access Area
- Mott Park Recreation Area
- Gilkey Creek @ Pierce School
- Carriage Town
- Kearsley Park
- Gilkey Creek at Applewood Estate
- Flint Park Lake
- For-Mar Nature Preserve and Arboretum
- Flushing Riverview Park
- Flushing Township Nature Park
- Lewis Street EcoPark
- Neighborhood Engagement Hub
- 6 Sites in Lapeer County
If interested learning more about the Flint River Watershed Coalition and its efforts, please visit their website at www.flintriver.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Flint River Watershed Coalition seeks a healthy, vibrant, active Flint River watershed for all. We work in partnership to protect, promote, and improve the Flint River and its watershed.