Sweep the Creek Spring 2013

See the scenes from the Spring Sweep.

The word “perfection” comes to mind when thinking about our spring Sweep the Creek, held on April 20 and 21. Perfect weather, plenty of volunteers, and now the perfectly sparkling creek that we all get to enjoy! We owe this, of course, to all our volunteers, 393 in total. This includes our section leaders and tablers, photographers, and the individuals and groups who picked up the trash, about 304 bags in total.

We moved our meeting location for Section Four, which almost always meets on Sundays. The new meeting location was the Tennis Court between Piney Branch and Wayne Aves – we hope everyone found this spot okay! This is a better location to access Section Four, since the prior spot at the old Blair High School required crossing Wayne Avenue to access the section.

Montgomery County Parks supported our efforts once again by providing bags and gloves, as well as the trash bag pickup. Thanks to Henry Coppola for serving as our point of contact and partnering with us so well.

Groups involved in the Sweep this time included: Cub Scout Packs 205 of Rolling Terrace Elementary School, Pack 33 in Takoma Park, and Pack 499; Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring; Girl Scout Troops 1273, 2894 and 4376; Montgomery College; Kemp Mill Synagogue; Young Israel Shomrai Emunah Synagogue; and the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy.

For the curious at heart, our unusual finds this time included a Mammalian skull (likely deer or goat), dumbbell, eyeglasses, sweater, grocery carts, gas can with liquid in it, vinyl fencing, broken trash can, duct tape, umbrella, park bench, and a live chicken that seemed to be living in the park! I personally was extremely happy to work with thee other volunteers to tackle the “trash island” that had developed just north of Park Valley Road in section three. Wow, was that an eyesore.

As you might know (and might have helped with), we do a very small sampling of our trash bags to classify the types of trash we find. While this is not a statically valid sample of any sort, we like to see what we are finding and report our findings to the Ocean Conservancy. The Ocean Conservancy has a long-standing research effort ongoing to identify and reduce the sources of trash in our Oceans, to which our watershed contributes.

We did see another small decline in the percentage of plastic bags that make up our totals, for the second time since the passage of Montgomery County’s bag bill. For the second time also, plastic bags are no longer our most found item as they used to be. Several volunteers commented that they weren’t finding as many plastic bags, according to a couple of our section leaders. So, things seem to be heading in the right direction in terms of plastic bags and our watershed!

We look forward to our next Sweep the Creek in September and collaborating with our many volunteers then. Thanks again to all!

Patton Stephens – Sweep Coordinator