The 17th Annual Earth Day Clean-up of Buckeye Brook will be held this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Hosted by the Buckeye Brook Coalition, around 100 volunteers are expected to help clean litter out of the wetlands area surrounding Buckeye Brook, including almost 60 Boy Scouts.
It should be noted that during the cleanup there will be a temporary road closure on Old Warwick Avenue to provide safety for the volunteers working in that area. There will be a road diversion through the Knights of Columbus parking lot, if necessary.
“We’re supposed to clean up areas the state and city are not responsible for,” said Paul Earnshaw of the coalition.
Those interested in volunteering should get to the Knights of Columbus parking lot between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. to register and be placed with a group leader. There is a limited supply of gloves, five-gallon pails and grabber tools, so volunteers are welcome to bring their own if they have them. Volunteers are also asked to dress accordingly.
The volunteers will be responsible for clearing items such as plastic bottles, cans, food wrappers, cigarette butts and other forms of trash. However, Earnshaw does expect to find some larger items that people have tossed out.
“We’re sure to be finding all kinds of tires,” he said.
Sometimes volunteers find even stranger items. According to Earnshaw, two years ago someone found a shark’s head.
There is also a chance to find hypodermic needles; the group has stick safety guidelines regarding those. If any of the kids volunteering see needles, they are required to find an adult who will properly collect them. Earnshaw brings those to the fire department for bio-hazardous disposal.
“I bring in a good deal of those,” he said.
This year, in addition to the Boy Scouts, Earnshaw said the Mill Cove Conservancy, Conimicut Village Association and Warwick Neck Improvement Association have all volunteered to assist with the clean-up.
Earnshaw expects good weather and an average turnout of 100 volunteers for Saturday’s clean-up. The largest turnout Earnshaw can recall is 183 volunteers.
“It was very difficult to find places to send them,” said Earnshaw.
The clean-up area is divided into 10 zones the group aims to clean up in the three-hour period.
For the event, the coalition obtained a waiver from Rhode Island Resource Recovery so the city is not responsible for the tipping fee of this collection.
During the clean-up, there will be a short break, during which Earnshaw plans to have an environmental discussion with the young volunteers about the Buckeye Brook River Herring population and count. He also plans to talk about the historical cemeteries in the surrounding area, because that is a topic often studied by the Scouts.
“They are very concerned and interested in that,” said Earnshaw.
There is a rain date for April 6 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the event of heavy rain.