Things to Keep in Mind when Picking a Site
- Safety first! Look for areas that are far from busy roads without steep banks, waterfalls, dams, mossy rocks, etc.
- Be sensitive to the ecosystem. Smaller streams might be damaged by heavy foot traffic from a group clean-up. Also, be mindful of any protected areas nearby.
- Make parking easy. Be sure to scout out potential parking areas for participants.
- Find a central meeting place. You’ll need an area where you can set up a “base of operations” for check-in, supplies, etc.
River Safety Tips
It’s OK to make the cleanup fun, but remember SAFETY FIRST!
Understand Your Group
- Know the limits of your group. Be it age, skill or comfort level with the tasks at hand; don’t ask your volunteers to do more than they are able.
- Inform parents and guardians that they are responsible for the supervision of their children. Do your best to see that each child has adult supervision.
- Insist that volunteers wear work gloves. Even benign trash may be the adopted home of a biting or stinging insect, snake or other creature.
- Dress for the weather and the task. Long sleeves and pants help protect skin from poisonous plants, bug bites and sunburn. Even in hot weather, lightweight long sleeve shirts and pants are strongly recommended.
- Encourage participants to wear hats and work boots (preferably waterproof), or waders; sneakers and sandals are discouraged.
Check the Weather, Know your River’s Level and What the Level Means
- If heavy rain is forecasted, you should postpone. Rivers – and especially smaller streams – can rise rapidly during heavy rain.
- If water levels are above average, do not attempt your cleanup, postpone it until water levels are safe.
Set the End Time Well Before Dark
- Allow extra time to wrap up the event so it concludes before nightfall.
Identify and be Aware of the Risks in the Outdoors
- Snakes, insects, poison ivy, poison oak, other wildlife, etc.
- Extreme weather (heat, cold, sun, wind).
- Know where the closest medical facilities are.
Use Common Sense
- If it sounds, looks or smells dangerous, it could be. Don’t touch it and notify a cleanup supervisor. Remember, no one has to pick up anything they don’t want to.
Sharp items like needles or glass can be placed in an empty detergent bottle and thrown away with the regular trash.