24th Annual
Source to Sea Cleanup

September 1 – 30, 2020

Everything you need to know about where and how to run a cleanup. 

Cleanup Maps

You can clean up anywhere there is trash. 

Registered Cleanup Sites

See registered cleanups

This map shows the locations of all public registered cleanups for 2020. We recommend you:

  • Check this map to see where other groups are going. For safe distancing, avoid locations where other groups will be. 
  • Make sure another group isn’t already planning to clean a site you have in mind.
  • Be sure to check the dates and times groups will be at these locations.
  • Remember, you can clean any time during the month of September so you have time to distance yourself from other groups.

Adopt a Cleanup Site

See Adopt-able Sites

Not sure where to go? This map shows the locations of trash sites reported to us. These sites are still in need of cleanup help.

  • Check this map to find a trash site near you.
  • You may want to visit the site before adopting it to see what it’s like in real life.
  • Make sure your group can handle the amount of trash and/or difficult terrain.
  • To adopt one of these sites, make note of the ‘Entry ID’ and enter that on your cleanup registration form.

Cleanup Training Videos

Think about the 4 S’s for a super smooth cleanup. Our friends at FirstLight tell you about site scouting, safety, and more. (6:40)

How to safely dispose of used needles. (1:00) Visit www.safeneedledisposal.org to search for needle drop-off locations.

What is the Source to Sea Cleanup? (3:20)

Learn how to find the date a tire was made. (5:43) Report your findings to us via the Trash Tally.

Clean Swell App

Here’s how it works:

  • Download app in advance (free) and allow location services while using app so it can detect that you’re collecting trash in the Connecticut River region and be counted toward CRC’s trash totals.

       

  • Create an account – your email address to verify data; only need to do this once.
  • Tap ‘Start Collecting’ button
  • Set group name: “CRC – your group name/family name” (please don’t delete CRC from the start of your group name, use the group name you registered with)
  • Designate a trash tallier who doesn’t wear gloves. Trash haulers call out their trash items and the tallier taps app icons. Got a lot of items of one kind? Hold your finger on the icon a few seconds (long tap) and a bulk input screen will pop up to input a number.
  • When you’re done collecting, the duration of cleanup time and total pounds will automatically be filled in.
  • Add comments to note any items not included in the app, such as nip bottles, furniture, etc, (add the weight of additional items to the total weight)
  • Click: SUBMIT MY DATA!

DIY Supplies

Before you head out to get dirty for cleaner rivers, make sure you have:

  • Face mask
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Gloves – rubber or work gloves
  • 2 waste bags – 1 for trash and 1 for recyclables
  • Smart-phone with the Clean Swell app to track your trash

Tips & Best Practices for a Great Cleanup

What to do Before, During, and After

Beyond the responsibilities of choosing a site, arranging for trash/recycle pickup, and tracking trash, there is no right or wrong way of doing things. Here are things that many groups find helpful to know. Please click the “+” signs to read the tips.

BEFORE THE CLEANUP

  • This year, the Source to Sea Cleanup will have smaller group sizes. Rather than finding a group near you to join, please create your own group and clean up only with people you already know.
  • You can register as an individual, family/household group, or a small non-family group.
  • Due to limited capacity this year, we encourage you to consider a DIY approach and gather supplies from around your home. If you need to order supplies from CRC, fill out the supply order form at least 2 weeks before your cleanup date.
  • We ask all participants to wear proper personal protective equipment, including gloves and a mask, practice safe physical distancing, and follow mandates provided by state and U.S. health agencies.
  • Read CRC’s detailed safety guidelines for more ways to keep yourself safe.
  • Share the load – If working with others, consider dividing up responsibilities, such as one person arranging for pickup, while another scouts sites, while another advertises the cleanup or handles thank yous and post-event publicity. Consider having a group meeting or phone call early in the planning season to discuss goals, available resources, and outstanding needs. Check out which other groups are nearby and ask them if they’d like to share resources, ideas, or press.
  • Plan goals – Some groups discuss and decide on goals for their cleanups, such as tackling some large trash, recycling as much as they can, highlighting the importance of a local stream or increasing their group’s visibility.
  • Seek donations – Some groups request donations of food, additional supplies or gift cards from local businesses, including first aid kits, heavy-duty trash bags, extra gloves, or donated gas cards for those providing car, boat or pickup services. When you call or approach a business, explain that you are helping to clean up your local river and you are wondering if they would be willing to make a donation (cash, services or supplies) for this worthy cause. The key is to ask at least one month in advance of the Cleanup so they will have time to do all the necessary paperwork and you’ll have time to publicize their generosity in the media. Some businesses may ask for a written request. Ask for more than what you need. Supplies will not go to waste! You can always pass extras on or save them for next year. Please remember to thank them very much for their generous contribution!
  • A role for everyone – Have a list of various jobs that groups or individuals can do while cleaning. This might mean that someone will record trash, while someone else sorts out recyclables, while someone else photographs and others clean. Consider the ages and abilities of your participants and try to ensure that each person feels their contribution is worthwhile.
  • Welcoming new faces –  If you know that someone in your group works with fostering abilities beyond disabilities or speaks another language, consider asking her or him to do a bit of outreach and bring someone from that community along.
  • Child Safety Guidelines – Review these guidelines if you have children in your group.
  • Check out the river – Good sites can be visually identified by a walk or paddle along the river.
  • Get a tip from the town – The Town Manager in your community may be able to suggest a good cleanup site. Your cleanup is helpful to your city, so they should welcome your call.
  • Safety first – Sites need to be safe and accessible for the ages and abilities of all participants. If you are managing a group of children (school group, youth group, etc.) please review our Child Safety Guidelines.
  • Check site conditions – It is important for group leaders to visit sites before the cleanup, identify potential hazards and check the weather forecast to ensure the safety of all participants.
  • Can’t find a site? – If your group has tried but is having trouble identifying a good site, we may be able to help. First, check out this map of sites in need of adoption to find one near you. Still can’t find a site? Get in touch with us.
  • If you have questions, please contact us at cleanup@ctriver.org or 413-772-2020 x211.
  • 2020 Confirmed Waste Partners:
    • Below is a list of towns willing to accept trash & recyclables as well as dumpsters available for trash disposal. Please only dispose of trash collected from the Source to Sea Cleanup. Take this coupon with you to show that your trash is from the Source to Sea Cleanup.
    • Town Partners:
      • Greenfield, MA; Department of Public Works; 189 Wells Street
      • Brattleboro, VT; Windham Solid Waste Management District; 327 Old Ferry Road
      • Lebanon, NH; Department of Public Works; 193 Dartmouth College Hwy
    • All American Waste or USA Waste & Recycling Dumpster Locations:
      • Montague, MA; Department of Public Works; 11 Sandy Lane
  • Town assistance – Many municipalities (either the Dept of Public Works or Parks & Rec) will generously donate a dumpster or trash pickup services. Plan to make your request early—at least one month before you need it but earlier is better. Please be courteous in your request, and persistence pays off.
  • Recycling – Find out what the town will recycle and how separation should be handled.
  • Details – Identify a location where recyclables/trash should be dropped off or left for pickup.
  • Tires – If your site has lots of tires, contact the Bridgestone Tires 4ward tire recycling program for FREE tire pickup and recycling services. You must apply about one month before your cleanup to participate.
  • Can’t secure services? – It is okay to re-approach your town if you have not heard back. If you are having trouble securing a donation, a local company might be supportive or perhaps a cleanup group near you would be willing to share resources.
  • If you are still having trouble finding ways to dispose of your trash/recyclables, please contact us at cleanup@ctriver.org or 413-772-2020 x211.
  • Appreciation – Remember to thank supporters for their generosity and consider mentioning their contribution in a press release if you do a wrap-up.

DURING THE CLEANUP

  • Huddle up before heading out – Most events benefit from the group gathering beforehand to touch base and motivate each other. Do this in an area that allows participants to spread out from each other. Please make sure participants know hazards to avoid (such as poison ivy, ticks, or unstable banks), the importance of tracking the trash they find and recycling what they can, as well as the necessity to report hazardous materials to the group leader who will then report it officially. Have a first aid kit and cell phone or public phone nearby. Encourage volunteers to use a physically distant version of the “buddy system,” and everyone using boats or wading deeper than knee level must wear a personal flotation device. Review our Child Safety Guidelines if you have children in your group. Thank everyone for coming and head out on a high note!
  • Share the load – We strongly suggest dividing cleanup duties into roles handled by individuals or teams, depending upon the size of your group. Large groups will need one person to record trash for every small group of volunteers or section. Clipboards are useful. Recorders can observe and ask cleaners what they are finding, and sorters can separate out accepted recyclables while the bags are filled. Photographers can make their rounds and everyone can switch halfway through to have a diverse experience. All Trash Tallies should be submitted to group leaders. This organized approach has worked very well for other groups.
  • Communicate – Make sure everyone knows what to do and what to look out for. Groups may find it helpful to communicate via cell phones, use walkie-talkies, or even a one-time use phone with a number just for that day.
  • Photographs – We love to highlight your group’s work. Please try to take clear, close-up photos. Label them with photographer credit, the names of those pictured and the location of the photo. All minors need photo releases if we are to consider publishing them on our website or in the Cleanup Chronicle. Submit your photos in our new #RiverWitness campaign. Your images will be added to a beautiful mosaic showing our community of river witnesses. As a #RiverWitness, you can help keep the rivers clean and lend your voice to the important advocacy work across the four Connecticut River states. Learn how you can get involved!
  • If your group finds needles or other sharps, either leave in place and report location to someone who is trained and authorized to deal with sharps (health department, police, etc.) OR make sure only adults handle and dispose of safely. If you do not have access to a sharps container, place sharps in a puncture-resistant container such as a rigid plastic bottle (laundry detergent) or coffee can with a secure cap. These items must be disposed of at a drop off site or through a medical mail back service, NOT placed in household waste. Visit www.safeneedledisposal.org to search by zip code and find proper disposal locations near you. 
  • If your group finds anything you think might be hazardous or volatile, report it to CRC or click the links below to report it to state officials. DO NOT move or otherwise disturb the material — leave it ‘as found.’ Make a note of the location or mark the site for the response team. Non-emergencies and complaints may be reported on the Monday following the Cleanup.

Some groups may come across existing living spaces in or near your cleanup site. Our goal is to assist in cleaning up the area only where appropriate and not to disturb active homes. If you come across someone experiencing homelessness, or a living site, please take the following actions:
● Clean areas in groups of three people or more.
● If a person experiencing homlessness is at the site, introduce yourself and explain the purpose of the cleanup and what you are doing there today. Ask if they would like any unwanted items removed and assist with cleaning up such objects.
● If no one is on the premises, only take what is clearly waste and do not remove any clothing, living structures or tents, cooking implements, etc. If you are unsure, leave the items by the living space.
● If appropriate, be prepared to share resources, such as information for shelters in your local community.

AFTER THE CLEANUP

  • If you tallied trash using the new Clean Swell app, then submit your data to us through the app. You do NOT need to also submit a trash tally.
  • Submit your Trash Tally and Tire Dating Form –  If you did not use the Clean Swell app, please submit your trash tally forms online the day of your cleanup or within 1 week after your cleanup. Submitting your Trash Tally/Tire Dating Forms online helps us to compile the trash watershed-wide and more quickly publish the Cleanup Chronicle. Both trash & tire-date forms are incorporated in the online trash tally form. If you submit by mail be sure to include both Trash Tally and Tire Dating Form and mail to: 15 Bank Row, Greenfield, MA 01301. Call if you have questions: 413-772-2020 x211.
  • Submit your Volunteer Waivers – Your volunteers should have already submitted their waivers to us online when they registered to participate. If you have any paper waivers, please send them to CRC, 15 Bank Row, Greenfield, MA 01301.
  • Photographs/Video – You can submit pictures and video clips to us via Facebook or email. Please make sure they are well labeled. Be sure to share your photos as part of CRC’s #RiverWitness campaign. Your images will be added to a beautiful mosaic showing our community of river witnesses. As a #RiverWitness, you can help keep the rivers clean and lend your voice to the important advocacy work across the four Connecticut River states. Learn how you can get involved!
  • Leadership change – If you will no longer be steering the ship, consider communicating with new possible group leaders and participants.
  • A little thank you goes a long way – Remember to thank participants and those who helped you in whatever way you deem appropriate. People like to be remembered through verbal, written or press related appreciation.
  • Tell us what’s left over – If, when you left your site, there was still trash you didn’t get to in time or if you noticed large trash items along the trail or riverbank, please report what’s undone to us so we can maintain a list of needed projects.
  • Help keep our rivers clean and healthy all year long – join in supporting CRC with your donation.

Other Resources

Are you interested in educational resources to connect your students to the Source to Sea cleanup? Check out the video, book and poems created by K-6 students as part of the River of Words program to inspire their peers and engage their communities in the annual cleanup.

If you have any questions or have limited computer access and need assistance, please contact Stacey Lennard, Cleanup Coordinator at cleanup@ctriver.org or 413-772-2020 x211.

Thanks for helping to keep our rivers clean!