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Volunteers needed to keep South River clean

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

After a successful Henry County Rivers Alive cleanup this month, organizers of the effort are issuing the call for volunteers to tackle a similar endeavor next year.

The annual event is spearheaded by Henry County Stormwater and the Henry County Water and Sewerage Authority. It is always the first Saturday in October, said Tonja Halton-Mincey, environmental specialist for the water and sewerage authority, and one of the organizers of the cleanup. She said next year's cleanup will be at a different location, but said she has not yet decided what that location will be.

Earlier this month, portions of the South River were picked clean of trash and debris, after some 100 volunteers, wearing heavy-duty gloves, worked to restore the beauty of the South River.

The volunteers, who lent a hand in the cleanup, included members of the Boy Scout Troop 61.

The project had a unifying effect on the participants, said Halton-Mincey.

"It brings people together. It's something for the scouts, children, and the adults to do, to keep the environment clean," Halton-Mincey continued. "It also enhances the water quality downstream.

"When volunteers come out for an event like this, our mission is accomplished on many fronts," she added. "First, we are able to clean a larger portion of the river more quickly, because of the number of people who take part, and second, we are able to educate the public on the importance of taking care of our natural resources."

The 2010 cleanup took place on a section of the river that runs through the old Snapping Shoals Community, and along the Henry-Newton county border, said Chris Wood, public relations spokesman for the water and sewerage authority.

Volunteers were combing the banks of the South River for trash and other pollutants. Their work was done by noon, said Wood.

"The Water Authority and the county are pleased that people care enough to come and devote their time to this activity," Halton-Mincey said.

Ed Shulak, scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 61, was one of the volunteers at the event. Shulak brought his son Will, and fellow Scout Austin Thomas with him.

"We take part in a number of community events that involve civic service," Shulak stated in a press release. "We have a saying that whenever we're outdoors, we should 'leave no trace,' which means to leave a place better than how you found it. This (Rivers Alive) event does just that."

Shulak's son, Will, echoed his sentiments. "I like being outdoors a lot, and it's good for us to help the community in this way," he said.

For more information about the Henry County Rivers Alive cleanup, visit the county's web site. www.co.henry.ga.us.