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Volunteers sought for annual clean-ups

From a dusting of snow expected in the early hours of Wednesday morning to a high of nearly 70 degrees over the weekend, spring has not yet sprung. But preparation for the season is taking place, one spring clean-up at a time.

At Sound Rivers, the local environmental advocacy nonprofit, plans are in the works for the annual Riverkeeper Cup Cleanup Challenge, a river cleanup that, in the past, has stretched from Louisburg to Washington. The North Carolina Department of Transportation also is putting out the word about its annual Adopted-A-Highway Spring Litter Sweep and is encouraging volunteers from local businesses, schools, nonprofits, churches and community groups to help clean up the roadsides during spring’s full bloom, from April 13 to April 27. Volunteers are provided clean-up supplies such as reversible orange and blue trash bags, gloves and safety vests from the local NCDOT County Maintenance Yard, according to a NCDOT press release.

“North Carolina is a more beautiful place thanks to the thousands of volunteers who donate their time every year,” David Harris, a state roadside environmental engineer with NCDOT, said in the press release. “We cannot do this alone, and their efforts ensure our state is a great place to visit and live.”

Pamlico-Tar riverkeeper Forrest English said the organization is solidifying the date of its cleanup, in which towns compete for the most trash removed from the Tar-Pamlico. According to English, the river definitely needs a spring cleaning.

“There sure is a lot of garbage floating down the river,” English said.

For English, the spring cleanup serves a dual purpose: it not only rids the waterways of trash that’s harmful to local wildlife, but it puts people in touch with nature, particularly the river.

“I think it’s always good to get people out and connected to their waterways in person, and picking up trash is a great way to do that,” English said.

For more information about NCDOT’s Litter Sweep, visit www.ncdot.gov/initiatives-policies/environmental/litter-management or call Kim Wheeless at 919-707-2974. For more information about Sound Rivers’ Riverkeeper Cup Cleanup Challenge, follow Sound Rivers on Facebook or sign up for the newsletter at soundrivers.org.