Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Volunteers Clean Ox Creek in Benton Harbor

The sad news is that millions of tons of trash contaminate American streams and rivers every year, compromising our drinking water and valuable habitat for wildlife. The good news is that by recruiting volunteers for thousands of cleanups around the country, the American Rivers organization has helped remove more than 25 million pounds of litter in recent days, including a hearty team of volunteers along Ox Creek in Benton Harbor.

Once again the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary thought it was time to tackle the litter that clutters the areas around Ox Creek. So, eight volunteers turned out on a recent Saturday morning to help clean up the Ox Creek watershed as a part of the National River Cleanup project, a sponsored event with American Rivers.

American Rivers’ National River Cleanup is a series of nationwide community-based river and stream cleanups. The popular annual event raises public awareness about the need for healthy rivers and is great opportunity for civic engagement.

The Ox Creek Cleanup was held in conjunction with hundreds of cleanups across the country with tens of thousands of volunteers taking part to remove trash from local waterways. You can learn more about the National River Cleanup at this link: http://www.AmericanRivers.org/Cleanup

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Marcy Hamilton, Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary member and Senior Planner with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission reminds us that the health of our creeks and rivers matter— healthy creeks and rivers mean a healthy community. She tells us that local waterways such as Ox Creek provide recreational and educational opportunities and habitats for fish and wildlife, and her organization is committed to improving Ox Creek so that future generations may be able to enjoy its community presence too.

Bob Kynast, the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary member who organized the event says, “It was great to see the participation and enthusiasm around restoring the health of Ox Creek” adding, “It is amazing what a small group of volunteers can accomplish in a few hours. We filled a trailer with over 30 bags of trash and several bags of recycling.”

Bob Irvin, President of American Rivers, says, “Creeks and rivers connect us to each other, to nature, and to future generations. It is wonderful to see people in Benton Harbor and across the country taking action to protect and restore their waterways,” and concludes, “We applaud the work of volunteers for the work they do on behalf of the creek and the community.”

The eight volunteers met at Hall Park in downtown Benton Harbor, and were subsequently split up into 4 groups who worked from Hall Park to North Shore Drive. Ox Creek flows by Hall Park, a popular city park in Benton Harbor.

The Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Club’s emphasis is on serving children in the Benton Harbor area. The club was chartered on January 19, 1991. You can learn more about the club at https://www.bhsunriserotary.org/  and on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/93087206948. You can also learn more about Ox Creek at http://www.SustainOxCreek.org