Cleaning up down south

On a sunny afternoon in Mississippi, 1,000 volunteers put their collective power to work by cleaning up nearly 37,000 pounds of trash from local watershed.

Pearl Riverkeeper hosts the annual Pearl River Clean Sweep, an event that unites 15 Mississippi counties and two Louisiana parishes to clean up more than 490 miles of beautiful river as a part of National Estuaries Week. Last year, Pearl Riverkeeper received a grant from Restore America’s Estuaries and CITGO to host this exciting event.

These volunteers understand the importance of keeping their local river clean – this watershed provides drinking water to most of the state and is home to a unique range of species and plant life.

“Most of our volunteers overwhelmingly reported that this cleanup was sorely needed,” says Abby Braman, executive director of Pearl Riverkeeper. Her goal is to advocate for the continued health of this watershed and hold polluters accountable for their actions.

Pearl River Clean Sweep launched a renewed interest in the river by its community. Many volunteers asked for additional ways to become involved, and a local Girl Scout Troop who had come to volunteer planned on visiting more often now that it was trash-free. One mother even recalled that her kids went out the next day to clean up trash from their street!

Funds from the grant also enabled local students to use kayaks to clean up the watershed. Abby says, “Many had never kayaked before and giving these kids the opportunity to spend time on our water while earning community service hours was a priceless gift.”

Apply today for a CITGO Gulf Region Grant to fund a National Estuaries Week event in your local community.

Abby Braman is executive director for Pearl Riverkeeper.