Loads of garbage pulled from Housatonic River during cleanup day

Saturday, August 8, 2015

By Phil Demers

Volunteer Jennifer Gallant, left, and Housatonic Valley Association member Alison Dixon wring out trash found in a section of the Housatonic River during the HVA's cleanup on the West branch of the river. Saturday, August 8, 2015. Stephanie Zollshan — The Berkshire Eagle.

 

PITTSFIELD — As volunteers dredged car part after car part out of the Housatonic River's waters on Saturday, one finally said, "Maybe we can make a whole vehicle by the end of this."

They'd begun in the morning and by afternoon had built up piles of trash all along the west branch of the river, which winds its way around downtown Pittsfield.

Televisions, bicycles, shopping carts, free weights, foam and a bit of the bizarre — Dragon Ball Z figurines, a small statue of a wombat holding a torch that volunteer Jeffrey Turner called the "Liberty Wombat" and more — were among the days' findings.

"There's definitely some weird and wonderful things in there," Alison Dixon, Berkshire outreach manager of the Housatonic Valley Association, said.

Dixon, who organized the cleanup, said it enjoyed the "largest turnout ever," with 50 or more total volunteers taking part. Almost the whole west branch — from the Wahconah Park area toward downtown, the Linden Street area, all the way to West Housatonic Street and Jimmy's Stonebridge Restaurant — was covered by the cleaners, who worked on foot and in canoes.

Right: Volunteer Jennifer Gallant pulls a large piece of fencing from a section of the Housatonic River during the HVA's cleanup on the West branch of the river. Saturday, August 8, 2015. Stephanie Zollshan — The Berkshire Eagle.

 

The river, Dixon said, is apparently getting cleaner and looking better as a result of these and similar efforts, which occur multiple times per year, most recently before Saturday in May.

"It's becoming a river that can be really enjoyed and not seen as a trash bin," Dixon said. "If people see trash they tend to think it's OK to add to it. But if it's clean and looks nice then people want to appreciate it. [The cleanup] definitely improves the aesthetic value."

Left: Kyron Hanson totes items pulled from a section of the Housatonic River near the Pittsfield Cemetery back to the shore during the Housatonic Valley Association's cleanup on the West branch of the river. Saturday, August 8, 2015. Stephanie Zollshan — The Berkshire Eagle. 

 

 

Jane Winn of Berkshire Environmental Action Team also played a lead role in Saturday's cleanup.

"It's just working together to make it a better place," she said.

Following the work, which began at 9 a.m. and continued until 1 p.m., volunteers enjoyed a lunch of Baba Louie's Pizza and were able to take free "goodie bags" put together by design and manufacturing company Blue Q of Pittsfield, who contributed to the event.

Right: Items pulled from a section of the Housatonic River near the Pittsfield Cemetery include a toy gun, bike frame, cell phone, and paddle among other things during the Housatonic Valley Association's cleanup on the West branch of the river. Saturday, August 8, 2015. Stephanie Zollshan — The Berkshire Eagle.

 

 

Left: Volunteer Mitch Nash pulls trash items from a section of the Housatonic River during the Housatonic River Association's cleanup on the West branch of the river. Saturday, August 8, 2015. Stephanie Zollshan — The Berkshire Eagle.


Mitch Nash, one of the company's owners, participated in the cleanup.

"They sent fliers to every business along the [cleanup] route and when we saw it we wanted to get involved," Nash said. "I think it's a lot cleaner thanks to past efforts, and today was a smash. We pulled so much crap out of the river. It was really satisfying."

Winn said future cleanups will be held in Great Barrington and again in Pittsfield in the coming months and that "there's still a lot of stuff to remove."

City workers removed the trash piled up by volunteers during Saturday's river cleanup.

 

PITTSFIELD — As volunteers dredged car part after car part out of the Housatonic River's waters on Saturday, one finally said, "Maybe we can make a whole vehicle by the end of this."

They'd begun in the morning and by afternoon had built up piles of trash all along the west branch of the river, which winds its way around downtown Pittsfield.

Televisions, bicycles, shopping carts, free weights, foam and a bit of the bizarre — Dragon Ball Z figurines, a small statue of a wombat holding a torch that volunteer Jeffrey Turner called the "Liberty Wombat" and more — were among the days' findings.

"There's definitely some weird and wonderful things in there," Alison Dixon, Berkshire outreach manager of the Housatonic Valley Association, said.

Dixon, who organized the cleanup, said it enjoyed the "largest turnout ever," with 50 or more total volunteers taking part.

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