Greenfield, MA. September 22, 2009. Over 2,500 volunteers had signed-on to work the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s 13th Annual Source to Sea Cleanup as of September 21st, and more helpers are flowing in. “People love this opportunity to do something for their local rivers,” says Christine Luis-Schultz, Cleanup Coordinator, “We once again have thousands of volunteers who have already signed up to be a part of the 2009 Cleanup, but we always welcome more willing hands.” Last year just over 3,000 volunteers donated a Saturday morning to clearing trash, debris, appliances and tires from local stream banks and riversides up and down the 410-mile long Connecticut River Watershed. “If you want to help out, please go to our website to sign up or find a local cleanup group to join” Luis-Schultz says, “We encourage people to sign up as soon as possible, so we can be sure that all groups get the information and supplies they need.”

In 2008, over ninety groups from Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut worked to clear 100 tons of illicitly discarded material along the corridors of New England’s Great River. This year the Connecticut will see groups fanning out all along the main stem of the river as well as on the banks of many of the river’s tributaries, according to Chelsea Gwyther, CRWC’s Executive Director, “We have a group of Boy Scouts heading out in northernmost New Hampshire at the River’s source, and several groups will be working in Essex and Old Lyme, CT along the river’s tidewater reach at Long Island Sound.” The October 3rd event, underwritten by NRG Middletown Power, always produces some oddities among the mountains of trash. Last year volunteers picked up a pedal sewing machine, an 18-foot Larson motor boat, a lava lamp and a swing set, along with the usual run of couches, tires, trash and appliances. “The good news is that some of these areas are not being reused as trash dumps once people see they are being cared for,” Gwyther says.

Groups, individuals and businesses are asked to sign up by Monday, September 28th. Contributions from NRG Middletown Power, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts’ Tony Lovell Memorial Fund, Covanta Energy Corporation, Lane Construction Corporation, the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), and TransCanada are helping outfit the four-state volunteer effort. To register your group, get information, or find a Cleanup team in your area, visit www.ctriver.org. Questions about this year’s Cleanup can be sent to cleanup@ctriver.org, or contact Cleanup Coordinator Christine Luis-Schultz at: (413) 772-2020, ext. 201.

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For press information contact: Chelsea Gwyther, Executive Director, CRWC, at: (413) 772-2020, ext. 202, (413) 658-8552 (cell) or cgwyther@ctriver.org; or Christine Luis-Schultz, Cleanup Coordinator, CRWC, at (413) 772-2020, ext. 201; or cluis-schultz@ctriver.org.

Connecticut River Watershed Council has been a non-profit advocate for the 11,000 square-mile watershed of the Connecticut River emphasizing fisheries restoration, erosion prevention, land conservation, and water quality since 1952.