BATAVIA – The Friends of the Fox River and the city of Batavia invite people to pitch in May 19 and help remove litter from the Fox River shoreline. Festivities afterward are open to all.
The cleanup will begin at 9 a.m., gathering at the parking lot by the skate park at the Clark Island Recreation Area at 411 S. River St. (Route 25), just south of downtown. Cleanup will continue until noon, and in the afternoon, a celebration of progress toward a healthier waterway will include a picnic, live music and other activities.
During the cleanup, volunteers will help collect refuse up and down the river from Clark Island Park, traveling in groups south toward Funway or north to downtown Batavia.
Not all cleanups are the same, because of the differing items that come to light.
“We’ve found wheels and beer and pop cans,” Batavia Assistant City Engineer Andrea Podraza said. “One year, we found a mattress, so there’s a different magnitude of items that we find.”
Friends of the Fox River Executive Director Gary Mechanic said the afternoon festivities are open to all.
“You don’t need to be a volunteer and clean up to come and enjoy the celebration,” Mechanic said.
While there will be work gloves and garbage bags available at the event, Podraza recommended volunteers provide their own.
“[People should have] closed-toe shoes, pants – depending on how the plants have grown and to protect from poison ivy – and sunscreen and hats,” Podraza said. “We don’t want people to go in the waterways, but waterproof boots are good, too, since they might be along the shoreline.”
This is one of the major cleanups the Friends of the Fox River organization coordinates in local towns to help keep the Fox River healthy.
“The Fox River is historically one of the most used and abused rivers,” Mechanic said. “This river is different from other rivers because people drink from this river.”
Despite the negative past, there is still cause to celebrate for the Fox River: a brighter future ahead.
“We’ve come a long way, and I think it’s important to recognize success and that we have made progress,” Mechanic said.
For information about the Fox River cleanup and celebration, visit the city of Batavia’s Facebook page at shawurl.com/399r. For information about the Friends of the Fox River, visit friendsofthefoxriver.org.