ClearWater Conservancy celebrated Earth Day weekend on April 23 alongside 451 community volunteers at its 26th Annual Watershed Cleanup Day. Volunteers gathered at 45 sites throughout Centre County to clean up trash and litter so that it could be properly cleared from stream sides and open spaces and disposed of properly. This year, volunteers collected 12,541 pounds of trash from Centre County from sites in the Spring Creek, Spruce Creek, and Bald Eagle Creek Watersheds.
“The number of volunteers renewing their commitment to a cleaner, greener Centre County after two slightly depressed pandemic years was so very heartening,” said Joanne Shafer, Centre County Recycling Coordinator. “With more folks enjoying the outdoors and tourism returning to our area, keeping our outdoors beautiful is even more important than ever.”
Since 1997, Watershed Cleanup Day volunteers have removed over 6.12 million pounds of waste from local streams, roadways, sinkholes, and illegal dumpsites. Litter and trash can cause pollutants to flow into bedrock aquifers, which is the source of drinking water for most of Centre County residents.
“Removing trash from our watersheds makes our streams and open spaces beautiful while protecting the health of our region’s water and wildlife,” said Deb Nardone, executive director of ClearWater Conservancy. “When we work together every year, we’re making our community a more beautiful and healthier place to live not just now but for future generations as well.”
The event was made possible by community volunteers and a partnership between ClearWater Conservancy, Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority, the Spring Creek Watershed MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) Partnership and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
The Spring Creek Watershed MS4 Partnership comprises the State College Borough, College Township, Ferguson Township, Harris Township, Patton Township, Spring Township, and Penn State University. The partnership works together to develop and implement a stormwater management program to reduce contamination of stormwater runoff.
“After 26 years Watershed Cleanup Day remains an integral part of our stormwater management program in the Centre Region,” said Amy Farkas, Harris Township Manager. “We thank every volunteer who turned out and helped us clean our public spaces because it truly takes all of us working together to keep our waterways clean.”
ClearWater Conservancy of Central Pennsylvania, Inc. is a 501(c)(3), Centre County-based land trust and environmental conservation organization formed in 1980. The mission of ClearWater Conservancy is to conserve and restore the natural resources through land conservation, water resource stewardship and environmental outreach across central Pennsylvania.