Earth Day 2014
Rocky Run Clean-up
The Nature Conservancy in Delaware, Young Friends of the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art, and The Brandywine Valley Association engaged close to 300 volunteers in April to clean up the Brandywine-Christina watershed. Collectively, volunteers removed over 3 tons of trash across the watershed, including 25 tires, 125 pounds of metal, numerous shopping carts, tents, traffic cones, shoes, car batteries and hundreds of plastic grocery bags.
“Stream cleanups help improve and maintain the cleanliness of the water we all depend on,” says Maria Dziembowska, Community Engagement Specialist for The Nature Conservancy in Delaware. “Trash and litter contaminate the water and threaten the lives of both people and wildlife.”
The Brandywine-Christina watershed provides over 100 million gallons of drinking water a day to more than half a million people, approximately 60% of Delaware’s residents. The watershed covers 565 square miles, crossing Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland. A clean watershed has ecological and economic benefits, increasing property values and encouraging recreation and tourism.
Avery Draper, chair of Young Friends of the Brandywine reflected on the cleanup, “We had a great turn out, picked up a lot of new trash in areas not usually cleaned and look forward to doing it again before the end of the year due to flooding and debris from recent storms.” The Young Friends of the Brandywine clean-up event, its twenty-first, covered the portion of the Brandywine stretching from the Lenape Bridge outside of West Chester to Thompson’s Bridge in Delaware. The Brandywine Valley Association’s annual clean-up covered the stretch of the Brandywine north of Lenape Bridge.
The Nature Conservancy held its first annual clean-up in the Rocky Run tributary, which flows through the First State National Monument and Brandywine Creek State Park. Park staff coordinated the event with the Conservancy. “It surprised a number of our volunteers to find a stream flowing through the highly developed commercial corridor on Route 202,” says Allison Cavanaugh, Public Ally with The Nature Conservancy in Delaware. “We felt a great sense of satisfaction to see the positive impact a few hours of our time had on the aesthetic of the stream. We removed 75 bags full of trash, many filled with plastic grocery bags, which get tangled up in the branches and nearby shrubs.”
A number of partners supported the events, including American Rivers, Aqua Pennsylvania, ArcelorMittal, Concord Mall, Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Wilmington, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Flyway Excavating, Hickory House Catering, Keep PA Beautiful, Mendenhall Pizza and Deli, Northbrook Canoe Company, Office Depot, Pennsylvania American Water, Republic Services, Southeastern Chester County Refuse Authority and Starbucks.