by: PHOTO COURTESY OF GARY LOVELESS - The SOLVE beach cleanup was a family affair for this foursome at Seaside Beach.

Oregonians and visitors to our state discard enough litter each day to equal the weight of six gray whales, much of it winding up in our waterways and coastal beaches.

SOLVE, the state’s pre-eminent litter cleanup organization, mobilizes thousands of volunteers for its annual Beach and Riverside Cleanup, and the next one is coming up Sept. 28, at more than 100 sites around the state. Volunteers might pick up trash, plant trees, remove invasive plants, or help restore watersheds.

At last year’s event, more than 4,400 volunteers collectively picked up 64,000 pounds of debris, and planted nearly 5,600 native plants.

This year’s beach cleanup comes as Oregon celebrates the centennial of the state’s landmark beach bill. In 1913, then-Gov. Oswald West signed legislation declaring that Oregon’s beaches are a public highway.

To sign up for a project near you, or at a place you hold dear, register at or call 503-844-9571 or 1-800-333-SOLV.

Agents of change

Want to learn how to become a leader in the environmental movement?

The Center for Earth Leadership is recruiting folks for its free sustainability leadership training series, titled “How to Be an Agent of Change.” The six-session course was developed by veteran local environmentalists Jeanne and Dick Roy, who count hundreds of alumni from past classes.

Participants develop an action plan for a local project of their choosing, and consult with classmates on steps to carry it out. Recent participants started a nature club at their child’s school, formed a kitchen-tool lending library, organized a recycling program at their office, and transformed an annual fundraising event into a zero-waste affair.

The class takes place in downtown Portland from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Wednesdays, starting Oct. 16.

To register or find out more, contact Emily Klavins at 503-227-2315 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information about the Center for Earth Leadership:

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF GARY LOVELESS - Teenage volunteers gather litter at Cannon Beach during the 2012 Beach and Riverside Cleanup.

Shovel with a view

If you’re going to spend the day yanking out blackberries, it may as well be in a beautiful spot.

The Friends of the Columbia Gorge invites people to help remove blackberries at the nonprofit’s rarely visited land trust property at Carson Cove, Wash., on the Columbia River. The Lend a Hand Stewardship event takes place from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21. Sign up in advance at

The friends group also offers a full array of fall hikes. For a brochure:

Down and Dirty highlights ways Portland-area residents can do their part for environmental

restorations, cleanups and related stewardship activities. If your organization has an activity to promote, please email the information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and use a subject line of Down and Dirty.