Guest Column: Countdown to clean-up = 47 days

By Frank Masterman
Founder & Volunteer Staff Member
Rock River

This is our mission statement: “Rock River is a grass roots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the health and ecosystem of the Rock River and its tributaries in Wisconsin and Illinois by partnering the communities along its banks into a unified, volunteer effort of river revitalization and annual clean-ups”

I invite all the communities along the Rock River in Wisconsin and Illinois to join with us for the first-ever Great Rock River Sweep of 2010, scheduled for Saturday, July 31, 2010.

The Rock River Sweep is a Rock River clean-up, partnering all the communities along the river for its entire 285 miles reaching from Horicon, Wis. to Rock Island, Ill., and you are invited to participate.

‘Section Coordinators’ needed now!

Organizations, groups, clubs, businesses, and individuals are encouraged to volunteer to fill the positions of Section Coordinator in each community along the river. Larger communities may require multiple sections, and coordinators are needed to head up each section. Some of the duties of the section coordinator are as follows:

→ Work closely with Rock River organizers to assure a uniform and successful clean-up.

→ Acquire clean-up supplies and other support from local businesses, (T-shirts, gloves, fliers, etc).

→ Work with your local media to recruit volunteers for clean-up day.

→ Work with neighboring section coordinators to prevent overlapping of sections.

→ Use the “Organizer’s Handbook” (provided by Rock River to assure a successful clean-up effort.

→ Register your section of the Rock River Sweep with Rock River and with American Rivers.

→ Recruit, assemble, and register volunteers on the clean-up day.

→ Coordinate “post-clean-up” recyclable-sort and trash disposal.

→ Arrange for proper disposal of all material collected.

→ Report clean-up results to Rock River organizers and American Rivers.

→ Essentially as a “Section Coordinator” you will be coordinating and conducting the clean-up in your local section, but you will be doing it as part of a much larger group.

We presently have seven communities registered to participate, and that leaves only 21 to go, including the Lake Koshkonong area, they are as follows: Horicon, Hustisford, and Watertown in Wisconsin; and Oregon, Grand Detour, Sterling, and Prophetstown in Illinois. All it takes is a core group of about 4-5 people working together to organize a clean-up on the local level. People from anywhere on the river can volunteer to handle a part of the river they are familar with through personal contacts and boating experience.

Along with guidance and organizational support, Rock River, with grants and donations from the American Canoe Association, Living Lands & Waters, and authors Nels Akerlund, and Lina Lukeshavich, will provide door prizes to each approved registration/clean-up site that registers four weeks or more in advance. Also, American Rivers will provide trash bags at no charge to those sites registering their clean-up online with them at least four weeks in advance.

Please visit our web site at and our facebook page at Rock River for more information. Questions may be submitted to or, and we recommend that you enter both addresses in your address book to prevent responses from being directed to your spam folder.

From the June 16-22, 2010 issue

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