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Group of happy kids with trash cleanup supplies outdoors. Source to Sea Cleanup - Deer Paths Nature School by Beth Pelton.

Deer Paths Nature School by Beth Pelton

Source to Sea Cleanup

Welcome to the Source to Sea Cleanup, a powerful and effective community event spanning the length of the 410-mile Connecticut River watershed in NH, VT, MA, & CT. Each fall, thousands of volunteers of all ages and abilities come together to do their part and spend a few hours making the water cleaner, the river banks safer, and the wildlife happier.

This year's Source to Sea Cleanup will be on September 28-29th, 2024 - or a day in the fall that works for you!

The 28th Annual Source to Sea Cleanup is Coming Up Soon!
 

Get your gloves and trash bags ready, the goal of the Source to Sea Cleanup is to remove as much trash as possible from our waterways, riverbanks, and communities. Trash moves from land to water, from upstream to downstream, and together we can make a BIG impact in preventing this trash from ending up in our rivers. 

Connecticut River Conservancy is preparing to launch a new custom registration platform for this year's cleanup. It will be ready by July 2024, just in time for Group Leader signups! In the meantime, explore the resources below and mark your calendar for action in September.

In 2023's Source to Sea Cleanup:

Impact stats of the Source to Sea Cleanup from 2023: 1.2K volunteers participated, 34 tons of trash removed, and 9.2K beverage containers collected.

Get available resources, see the cleanup site map, and view our photo gallery.

See our Map Site & Cleanup Guide to organize your own volunteer group anytime.

Learn more about how to prevent & reduce trash in our rivers.

This event is held every year thanks to generous support from local sponsors.

Sign Up for Volunteer Email Updates

If you'd like to know when new volunteer opportunities become available, or just keep up-to-date with Connecticut River news and events, sign up here and then return to this page.

Overview of the Cleanup
Getting Dirty for Cleaner Rivers

What began as a group of volunteers organizing to remove trash from local rivers over two decades ago has become a hugely popular annual event that brings communities together in support of clean water and healthy habitats throughout the Connecticut River watershed - in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Volunteers are organized into groups with Group Leaders coordinating details at different trash sites. Trash tallies are also gathered after each cleanup, contributing to Connecticut River Conservancy's long-standing database which is used to inform our work in advocacy to reduce future pollution, support river restoration, and inform the public and policy-makers of issues affecting the environment.

Trash tally results throughout the 4-state watershed show that in 2023 132 groups consisting of over 1,251 volunteers collected over 34 tons of trash - and there'll be more this year! See our Cleanup Chronicle for more details.

Volunteer picking up trash and peeking out from behind a tree. Source to Sea Cleanup on the Connecticut River riverbank.
Farmington River Source to Sea Cleanup

When you join the Source to Sea Cleanup, you can either sign up to be a volunteer who participate on a specific day/time, or be a Group Leader: someone who organizes a cleanup group by choosing a site, creating a trash plan, recruiting volunteers, and submitting a trash tally for watershed-wide data accuracy. If you're interested in being a Group Leader, CRC will provide all the resources you need and offer support every step of the way. 

The map below shows reported trash areas which are available as adoptable sites. You can also choose a different site you're aware of, or submit sites to be added to our database.

Although our annual event runs each fall, we encourage folks to consider cleaning up rivers, streams, parks, and city streats at other times of year, such as hosting an Earth Day Cleanup in spring, when foliage is still low and poison ivy at bay!

Stay Tuned or Get in Touch

2024 Source to Sea Cleanup registration will have a clear new platform chock full of action and resources available starting July. Make sure you're signed up for our email list to be among the first to know when registration opens up.

Want to reach out for any questions in the meantime? Contact Stacey at slennard at ctriver.org.

While the Source to Sea Cleanup is all about picking up trash in our waterways, streets, and parks – it is also part of a greater effort that includes recycling our waste, speaking up for legislative actions to reduce pollution, and advocating for producers to develop products that are less harmful for the environment.

 

We are pleased to see that after years of advocacy by Connecticut River Conservancy and partners, a Tire EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) bill has passed in Connecticut, becoming the first of its kind in the nation. This new legislation will decrease illegal tire dumping, save municipalities money, and boost tire recycling.

 

On the flip side, legislation does not always go as we hope, as in the case of Vermont’s bottle bill – which would add containers like water bottles, juice bottles, and wine bottles to the list of redeemables – getting vetoed in 2023. Our River Stewards regularly comment on permits and legislation to steer policy in a more river-friendly direction, and we encourage you to sign up to our state-based eblasts at ctriver.org/email to get river updates and action opportunities in your state.

Plastic Bottles
Electronics
Styrofoam
Tires
Aluminum Cans
Clothing & Footwear
Nips
Toys
Glass Bottles
Cigarette Butts
Construction Items
Automotive

Speak Up For Cleaner Rivers

All it takes is a series of small actions by lots of people to make a big impact on our rivers. Through personal power and responsibility, we can keep our rivers clean for all to enjoy.

Wondering how you can make a difference? Start with a few small steps:

Multiply your impact — Invite friends, family, and co-workers to join you in this effort.

Speak up for your rivers — Contact your elected representatives, show them the trash problem and let them know this is an issue that is important to you and deserves their attention and legislative action.

Use the power of your purchase — Tell businesses what products to make and sell; purchase only reusable items and refuse single-use plastic and foam.

Lead by example — Don’t litter and properly dispose of your waste — no wish-cycling!

Get involved when there's a bill —  Sign up for CRC's state-specific advocacy emails which include action alerts for when there is legislation you can directly support (or oppose!).

Gloved hand holding a yellow plastic bag that is muddy and was removed from the river during a Source to Sea trash cleanup.
3 nip bottles laying on the ground, an example of common riverside trash collected during the Source to Sea Cleanups in the Connecticut River watershed.

#RiverWitness

As you venture out to enjoy the great outdoors, share your river experience by using #RiverWitness and tagging @ctriverconservancy on Instagram. We’ll be on the lookout to share.

Show the beauty of your favorite river spot or tributary, or use this opportunity to document the not-so-pretty side of pollution to raise awareness for the importance of conservation.

The success of the Source to Sea Cleanup reflects the partnership of individuals and businesses who do their part to help clean up our region’s waters. This community event would not be possible without the support of business leaders like you. We hope you’ll consider joining us at the sponsorship level that is right for your business.

Why Sponsor?

  • Demonstrate your commitment to the environment

  • Increase your business exposure through generous media coverage and other promotion

  • Provide your employees an engaging and meaningful team-building opportunity

 

“Eversource is proud of our long history with the Connecticut River Conservancy and supporting its annual Source to Sea Cleanup. Eversource employees are committed to improving the communities where we live and work by rolling up our sleeves to collect debris from the Connecticut River and tributaries. We are thrilled to support this event each year in locations across our three-state service territory and we are thankful to CRC for the work they do"

 

–Hayley Dunn, Eversource Corporate Citizenship Manager

Graphic showing sponsors who supported the Source to Sea Cleanup.

If you’re ready to sign up as a sponsor, you can complete our online form.
 
If you would prefer to discuss sponsorship and/or request a Sponsorship Benefits Package, please contact Brett Morrison, CRC’s Development Director, at 413-772-2020 ext. 218 or 802-375-4519 or bmorrison at ctriver.org.

CRC’s Source to Sea Cleanup has teamed up with Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup and American Rivers National River Cleanup, for cleaner waterways around the U.S. and the world.

International Coastal Cleanup logo.
American Rivers National River Cleanup logo.

For any questions about the Source to Sea Cleanup, email us at cleanup at ctriver.org.

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