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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Volunteers needed for weekend waterway cleanup

Volunteers can pick up trash and debris on the land or by kayak at Burnt Mill Creek. (Courtesy CFRW)

KURE BEACH — Volunteers are needed for a waterway cleanup hosted by two local organizations this weekend.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, in partnership with nonprofit Cape Fear River Watch, is recruiting individuals for the 2023 Party for the Planet on May 13 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at McCombers Branch.

“Partnering with Cape Fear River Watch for Party for the Planet is a great way to leverage our collective focus on the environment to make a real difference, while inspiring the community to take action on this cleanup day and every day,” NCAFF environmental educator Casey Radley said in a press release.

Participants can take part in the land or aquatic side of the cleanup. For the waterfront, volunteers meet at N. 11th Street and kayaks will be provided; people are welcome to bring their own.

The land cleanup meeting spot is the intersection of N. 13th and Rankin streets. Volunteers should wear waterproof boots, as accessing the area will require walking through the creek.

CFRW and NCAFF will provide trash pickers, bags, safety vests, and gloves at both locations. The NCAFF team will be serving donuts and coffee. Volunteers are encouraged to only bring reusable water bottles (no single-use plastic) and use environmentally friendly sunscreen or bug repellant.

“We are excited to work with NCAFF and community members to remove litter from this important stretch of the Burnt Mill Creek Watershed and to keep our urban waterways clean,” CFRW water quality programs manager Rob Clark said in a press release.

The focus on Burnt Mill Creek Watershed is part of CFRW’s Second Saturday Cleanups in partnership with Keep new Hanover Beautiful. The bi-monthly events help divert litter and debris from waterways. In 2022, volunteers collected more than 15,000 pounds of trash.

Most marine debris comes from the land as it enters waterways, like the Burnt Mill Creek, before making its way to the ocean and wreaking havoc for marine animals, including sea turtles and sand tiger sharks, two areas of conservation focus for NCAFF.

To sign up for the Party for the Planet Cleanup, go here. Cleanups are weather-dependent, and updates or cancellations can be found on CFRW’s social media pages.

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