The Rapidian

Mayor's Grand River Cleanup in its 13th year, first year for Mayor Bliss

The West Michigan Environmental Action Committee (WMEAC) is proud to host the 13th Annual Mayors’ Grand River Cleanup, on September 10th, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Sixth Street Park!
Two volunteers walk along the Grand River at last year's Mayors' Grand River Cleanup

Two volunteers walk along the Grand River at last year's Mayors' Grand River Cleanup /Aaron Bouwkamp

Underwriting support from:

Details

When:  Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Time: 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Where: Sixth Street Bridge Park

For more information and to register, visit wmeac.org/mayors-grand-river-cleanup.

A volunteer picks up trash along the Grand River at last year's Mayors' Grand River Cleanup

A volunteer picks up trash along the Grand River at last year's Mayors' Grand River Cleanup /Aaron Bouwkamp

Volunteers enjoy lunch and live music after last years Mayors' Grand River Cleanup

Volunteers enjoy lunch and live music after last years Mayors' Grand River Cleanup /Aaron Bouwkamp

The West Michigan Environmental Action Committee (WMEAC) is proud to host the 13th Annual Mayors’ Grand River Cleanup, on September 10th, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Sixth Street Park. Last year, over 1,100 volunteers came out to help pick up trash along 40 miles of the Grand River and its tributaries, collecting nearly 20,000 pounds of trash in Grand Rapids, Grandville, Walker, Wyoming and Plainfield Township.

In 2004, Mayor Heartwell started the first Grand River Cleanup to pick up trash along the Grand River with a dozen people from the Grand Rapids Young Professionals and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council. Since that humble start the cleanup has attracted the mayors from Grandville, Walker, and Wyoming along with attracting over 1,000 people. This year will mark the passing of the torch from Mayor Heartwell to Mayor Bliss. 

“Last year’s event was very successful, and this year we’re hoping to surpass the number of volunteers and the amount of trash collected. This year is also Mayor Bliss’ first cleanup, so we want to show her the work that WMEAC and our volunteers are doing to better the Grand River and Grand Rapids as a whole,” said Ondrea Spychalski, Outreach Coordinator for WMEAC and the organizer of this year’s cleanup.

The Cleanup is focused not only on cleaning the banks of the Grand River. It also provides an opportunity to educate volunteers on the importance of watershed protection and stormwater management.

"With thousands of people over the past decade participating in this event, we've seen the status of the Grand River shift from the backyard of the city in people's minds to the front yard of our community. Now that more people are interested in the protection of the Grand River this allows us to talk with them about how to prevent pollution, not just how to pick up trash along it's banks," Spychalski said. 

The Mayors’ Grand River Cleanup is open to people of all ages and abilities who want to participate. Groups and individuals can register online on the WMEAC website, and a t-shirt is available for purchase. WMEAC will provide trash bags and gloves for volunteers.

There is still space available for new volunteers and t-shirts available at wmeac.org/mayors-grand-river-cleanup. The event will feature a small breakfast available before the event and a light lunch after the event with considerations taken for those with dietary restrictions. Grand Rapids Pizza Delivery and Bartertown Diner will be providing lunch. Live music will be provided by Big Dudee Roo.

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