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Volunteers pitch in as part of Susquehanna Greenway Cleanup Week

PHOTO PROVIDED Volunteers prepare to help with the second annual Susquehanna Greenway Cleanup Week, which ran from April 16-22, in this photo by the Downtown Lock Haven, Inc.

Communities across the region were alive with volunteers recently in celebration of Earth Day and the second annual Susquehanna Greenway Cleanup Week.

Over the course of the week of April 16-24, 12 towns organized events that attracted hundreds of volunteers and collectively removed thousands of pounds of trash from area parks, trails, and communities along the Susquehanna River.

Harrisburg, Lock Haven, Williamsport, Newberry, Montgomery, Bloomsburg, Danville, Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Sunbury, Athens and Sayre made up the group of river towns with cleanups and programs led by local groups and organizations, which included the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, Newberry Community Partnership, Lewisburg River Town Team and Lewisburg Neighborhoods, Montour Area Recreation Commission, The Town of Bloomsburg, Montgomery Borough, The Susquehanna River Cleanup Project of Sunbury’s Revitalization, Inc., Downtown Lock Haven, Inc., Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Barry Isett and Associates, and Futurescapes.

“Last year, the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership coordinated the inaugural Susquehanna Greenway Cleanup Week, recruiting six towns to participate in that first year,” explains SGP Executive Director Corey Ellison. “This year, we were blown away to see that participation double. We are thrilled with the response of this year’s twelve towns and commend our partners, River Town Teams, and the many volunteers on a job well done. The united efforts of each individual town go a long way towards the bigger picture of keeping the Susquehanna Greenway clean and beautiful.”

For the 2022 Susquehanna Greenway Cleanup Week, the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership helped to organize efforts by convening the interested parties, assisting with planning, and securing no-cost cleanup materials such as bags, gloves, and safety vests. These supplies were acquired through the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful initiative, which offers registered events free resources provided by support from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, PennDOT and Keep America Beautiful.

PHOTO PROVIDED Volunteers remove debris from the river as part of the second annual Susquehanna Greenway Cleanup Week, which ran from April 16-22, in this photo by the Susquehanna River Cleanup Project in Sunbury.

In Williamsport, SGP staff and board members were joined by 18 area volunteers — including those from the West Branch Valley Association of Realtors, NorthcentralPA.com, and Lycoming College — to clear the Williamsport River Walk of 434 pounds of trash.

In Newberry, the Newberry Community Partnership led 40 volunteers on a cleanup in the Newberry neighborhood, collecting 165 pounds of trash.

In Lock Haven, Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. coordinated with the City of Lock Haven and Lock Haven University for a four-day cleanup effort from April 19-22 that attracted 50 volunteers who gathered 793 pounds of trash.

Montgomery Borough gathered a team of 38 volunteers who collected 220 pounds of litter around Montgomery Park.

In Lewisburg, the Lewisburg River Town Team and Lewisburg Neighborhoods cleaned up areas in their downtown district and also led several tree plantings.

PHOTO PROVIDED Volunteers prepare to help with the second annual Susquehanna Greenway Cleanup Week, which ran from April 16-22, in this photo by the Newberry Community Partnership.

In Athens and Sayre, Futurescapes led 18 volunteers on a cleanup along the Diahoga Trail, removing 30 pounds of litter from the trail.

In Bloomsburg, the Town of Bloomsburg recruited 10 volunteers to clean up along the shores of the North Branch that flows alongside Fort McClure Boulevard, collecting 300 pounds of litter.

In Danville, the Montour Area Recreation Commission led cleanups at the Montour Preserve, Hess Recreation Area, and DeLong Park, attracting 81 volunteers who donated 185 hours of their time to collect 52 cubic yards of trash.

In Sunbury, the Susquehanna River Cleanup Project of Sunbury’s Revitalization, Inc. celebrated its 10th year with 205 volunteers who cleaned up along the shores of Sunbury’s Riverfront Park, collecting a staggering 9,300 pounds of trash and still counting as they continue to remove leftover debris that could not be collected on the day of the event.

In Selinsgrove, SGP joined forces with 10 SU Serve students from Susquehanna University to collect 87 pounds of litter from the streets of Selinsgrove and along Weiser Run. Selinsgrove also hosted an Earth Day celebration organized by Citizens’ Climate Lobby where attendees enjoyed food, activities, art, and music by “Nine Degrees of Syncopation” and “DePortoland.”

In Harrisburg, Barry Isett and Associates led a cleanup of Wildwood Park.

Of the 12 participating communities, Williamsport, Lock Haven, Montgomery, Selinsgrove, Bloomsburg, Danville, Lewisburg, and Athens & Sayre are designated ‘Susquehanna Greenway River Towns.’ Communities received the designation after completing a two-year process, which included open space inventories, community outreach, and strategic planning.

As designated River Towns, each community has made a commitment to celebrate and connect to the resources of the Susquehanna River and Susquehanna Greenway. Hosting events, such as the ones within the cleanup, serve to uphold this pledge and promote a better quality of life for people living in and visiting the area.

Alana Jajko is the Director of Communications and Outreach for the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership. Her work is focused on promoting trails and communities within our vibrant and connected Susquehanna Greenway, so that the public can enjoy opportunities to engage with the outdoors. Alana can be reached at ajajko@susquehannagreenway.org.

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