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As usual, the annual cleanup of Johnson Creek in Inner Southeast found all sorts of stuff in the stream

DAVID F. ASHTON - James Linnebur pitches the trash collected from Johnson Creek by members of Boy Scout Troop 22. Along the waterway, volunteers from the Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) hopped into the creek to pull out trash and junk during the 12th annual "Johnson Creek Clean-Up", at the end of summer.

After meeting at Mill Park early in the morning, about 150 volunteers split up into teams to cover about seven miles of the creek.

"Specifically, we had 15 teams going into the creek. This time of year the water level is low – making it easier for our volunteers, wearing old tennis shoes and shorts, to walk into the reaches of the creek and pull out trash," said JCWC Volunteer Program Manager Courtney Beckel. "Volunteers pull out bikes, furniture, clothing, discarded plastics, and treated lumber, all things that are dangerous and hazardous to wildlife."

One of the volunteers getting wet that Saturday was Melanie Klym, JCWC Board Chair, and also the cleanup's co-leader for 12 years. She remarked that, while removing tons of trash positively impacts the creek, there really is more to the day.

"I love hearing people's stories about getting into Johnson Creek and realizing that there are really beautiful areas that they never knew about," remarked Klym. "And, we establish with folks that it's okay, and safe, to get into the creek and experience it, and see how much wildlife there actually is in it.

"Having people experience this, and seeing the change in their expectations when they leave – and then when they come back the next year – is really rewarding," observed Klym.

At the end of the day, the dropboxes contained 4.5 tons of trash that had been removed from Johnson Creek by volunteers.


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