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Your Time: Residents help at Connecticut River cleanup

  • From left, Bruce Hart, Tiffany Labrie, Andrea Robitaille
  • Trash
  • Braedon Brown
  • Aaryn Brown
  • Dennis Williams, from left, Brian Williams, Ray Hyjek
  • Dennis Williams, left, plant manager at Coca-Cola in Northampton, and Ray Hyjek remove debris from the banks of the Connecticut River last weekend as part of the Connecticut River Watershed Council's Source to Sea Cleanup efforts.
  • Tyrone Bowie, left, Dennis Williams
  • MacDuffie School
  • Debra Bowie, Merv Broussard
  • Taylor Parham, Roxy Schneider
  • Katie Michaels, Meredith Michaels, Michael Williamson
  • Merry Nasser, in foreground, and other volunteers
  • From left, Merv Broussard,  Bryan Lynes, Yuguang Lin, Dali Li, Tyler Lynes

Thousands of volunteers turned out Saturday for the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s Source to Sea Cleanup, an annual one-day effort to remove debris from the banks of the river and its tributaries in four states.

Locally, groups from the Northampton Coca-Cola plant, the MacDuffie School in Granby, the Westfield office of Tighe & Bond Inc. and the Amherst Women’s Outdoor League were among those that fanned out along the river in Northampton, Easthampton and Hadley.

A group from the Jewish Community of Amherst called Tikkun Olam, a Hebrew phrase which means “repair the world,” worked on Old Springfield Road in Northampton and at nearby Danks Pond. The group was organized by Judith Souweine, who has volunteered on cleanup day for the last five years; her late husband, Jonathan, was a longtime board member of the watershed council.

“The Connecticut River is the most important natural resource in the Valley. This seemed like a good opportunity to clean it up,” Souweine said.

Merv Broussard, co-owner of Mitch’s Marina, and another volunteer used barges to transport the Coca-Cola and MacDuffie School groups to Mitch’s Island and popular beaches along the waterway.

Dennis Williams, the plant manager at Coca-Cola, and his son, Brian, 13, were among about 30 volunteers from that company.

“We use a lot of water,” Williams said. “This is our way of giving back to the watershed.”

Tiffany Labrie, a civil and environmental engineer for Tighe & Bond, gathered about a dozen co-workers at the river’s Oxbow, where Florence resident Bruce Hart used his kayak to transport debris to them. His haul included tires, plastic chairs, electrical insulators and fishing equipment.

Perhaps the biggest catch of the day was a sectional couch that was rolled up a steep hill, piece by piece, from Danks Pond by members of the Amherst Women’s Outdoor League, with help from Michael Williamson.

To suggest a subject for Your Time, email Suzanne Wilson at swilson@gazettenet.com.

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