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Connecticut River Source to Sea Cleanup Saturday

— Lace up your work boots and roll up your sleeves, it’s time to clean up our rivers from “source to sea.” The Connecticut River Watershed Council seeks volunteers to clean up several spots on the Connecticut River and its tributaries this weekend for the annual environmental event.

Last year, 1,500 volunteers scoured riverbanks and floodplains, pulling some 51 tons of trash from 60 miles of waterways along the Connecticut River, which travels from the northern reaches of Vermont and New Hampshire to Long Island Sound.

Locally, efforts will be coordinated from several sites, from which people will gather and tackle specific points up and down the rivers.

In Greenfield, organizer David Boles hopes to send people to nearly three dozen sites on the Green River.

Boles suggests volunteers wear clothes they don’t mind dirtying, as well as boots they can wade in if they plan to enter the river.

“If the water stays low, it will be a good opportunity to wade across in spots,” he said. “A lot of debris has washed up in the middle of the river.” Last year’s cleanup was hindered by high, rushing waters and volunteers were asked not to get into the water or too far down the riverbank, to minimize risk.

Trash bags and gloves will be provided, but there are a few things you can bring from home to help.

“We certainly need people with trucks, and some shovels. We could also use some long poles to rip trash out of trees 10 or 15 feet up,” he said. He said a long 2-by-2-inch piece of lumber with a couple of screws in one end would work, as would a pole-saw or long-reach pruner.

He expects to send volunteers to 15 major sites and 20 smaller ones. They range from flat areas with easy access to steeply banked slopes.

“We’re looking for some adventuresome people who want to take a long hike, get into the river, and go up it, to places that aren’t as easily accessed because of their steep banks,” said Boles. “I’d love it if they could identify themselves Saturday.”

Volunteers for the Green River Cleanup will meet at 9 a.m., rain or shine, at the Green River Swimming and Recreation Area on Nashs Mill Road, where breakfast will be served before the cleanup begins. Lunch will be served from noon to 2, while area reggae band The Equalites performs. Other Franklin County cleanup groups will meet at the following locations: The Deerfield side of the Sunderland bridge, the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls, and the Green Trees Gallery on Main Street in Northfield.

For more information, or to find a cleanup group near you to join, visit www.ctriver.org.

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