The Cody riverfront looks better today, thanks to the hard work of nearly 85 young people ages 5-25. On Wednesday, the group participated in a Wyoming Nature Conservancy Volunteer Day, pitching in on a variety of clean-up jobs along the Shoshone River, where hundreds are expected to gather on August 24 for the first-ever Cody Wild West River Fest.
“We want people to take pride in this place and appreciate all that the Shoshone River provides for our community,” says Katherine Thompson, event coordinator and The Nature Conservancy’s Northwest Wyoming Program Director. “Rivers provide clean drinking water, irrigation water for farms, homes for wildlife and a place for us to play. It’s an important resource that is worth our care.”
The youth donned protective gloves, lathered on sunscreen, and took a lot of water breaks. Work ranged from pulling and bagging weeds to picking up trash and dog poop along the trails. Groups participating included campers from the Cody Parks and Recreation Department’s Kidz on the Move, participants in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Discovery Field Trips, summer interns from The Nature Conservancy’s Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future, and crewmembers from the Wyoming Conservation Corps. Eagle Scout, Sam Larson, also led volunteers in building bat boxes and birdhouses that were later put up along the river trails.
“The kids, including my own daughter, were excited to contribute to this effort,” adds Thompson. “It made me proud of Cody’s young people and hopeful that their efforts will inspire others to be more thoughtful about how they dispose of their trash, cigarette butts, and pet waste.”
During the trail clean-up, 50 bags of trash and invasive weeds were hauled out, and roughly 50 pounds of dog poop picked up along the first ¼ mile of the Paul Stock Nature Trail. When it rains, bacteria in feces can wash into the river where it poses a threat to human health. Parts of the Shoshone River drainage are contaminated with E. coli, and efforts are underway to determine the best ways to address the pollution.
“It’s important for people to know the impact leaving pet waste behind can have on our river and our health.” says Thompson, “We hope the children will share this safety information with their parents and friends. Everyone in the community has a role in taking care of this special place.”
The volunteers could see the impact they were having along the river. Many of the children remarked at the difference a few hours’ work had on the riverfront.
The volunteer day brings us one step closer to the Cody Wild West River Fest, a community event designed to celebrate the Shoshone River and everything it provides for our communities. Events ranging from river races and engaging demonstrations to a fly fishing tournament and bluegrass concert will take place along the Shoshone River and in City Park in Cody on Saturday, August 24 from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. A kick-off event will be held on Friday, August 23 from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
For more information on the festival, visit codyriverfest.com.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy