Rock River Sweep 2010 set for July 31
From press release and Web info
A brand-new project is coming to your community on the banks of the Rock River in Wisconsin and Illinois in summer 2010.
One man’s vision to clean up the Rock River in his community has quickly grown into a river-long event, and your help is needed. The first-ever Great Rock River Sweep is a Rock River clean-up to be conducted in each and every community along the river for its entire 285 miles reaching from Horicon, Wis., to Rock Island, Ill., simultaneously on Saturday morning, July 31.
Frank Masterson—a man with a vision
Frank Masterman, a resident of Oregon, Ill., had talked to many people over the years about organizing a river clean-up in and around his hometown. But nothing came of it until a community revitalization group called “Forward Oregon” was formed. Its members consisted of people from the city, park district, school district, chamber of commerce, art groups, library, churches, business community, and others. Masterson first attended a meeting of the Tourism Committee, and among the subjects brought up, one was an idea for a river clean-up. But no one pursued it at the time, so Masterson waited for the right opportunity. Later, he attended a general meeting of the “Forward Oregon” group. Once again, someone mentioned a river clean-up, and this time Masterson was prepared to seize the moment. He had been in contact with the national organization American Rivers and obtained information on setting up a river clean-up. He had brought with him a copy of the American Rivers’ Organizer’s Handbook, which he shared with the group.
This time he got an enthusiastic, positive response, and Masterson met several people who wanted to help him get started. He wanted to get a clean-up organized in conjunction with National Rivers Month. His new partners were creative, well organized, enthusiastic and energetic. In about four weeks, they organized a river clean-up in Oregon, registered it with American Rivers, received support, T-shirts, snacks and plastic trash bags from them. The event was held June 27, 2009, with the aid of a local businessman, two local banks, an apparel company, and many volunteers. Captain Greg Hunter of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources gave the group a briefing on river safety and patrolling above the dam. The Oregon Volunteer Fire Department also assisted with their rescue boat and some volunteer firefighters below the dam. They were also assisted by the local park district, good coverage by the local news media, and a successful clean-up was held, clearing the river bank of assorted junk and approximately 350 pounds of trash.
With this initial effort, Masterson began looking ahead. He wrote in a report, “My thoughts during the planning stage of this clean-up effort were that next year would be bigger and better. Maybe my long-time dream of a clean-up from Oregon, Ill., to Grand Detour, Ill., would be possible. As planning and organizing progressed, I was made aware of ‘The Mississippi River Garbageman’ Chad Pregracke, and upon researching Chad on the Internet, I learned about Chad’s organization, ‘Living Lands and Waters’ and that he had written a book about his river clean-up adventures on the Mississippi River, the Illinois River, the Ohio River and others. Immediately I ordered two copies of his book…”
Masterson’s dream began to expand to include Byron, Ill., upriver from Oregon, then to Dixon, and finally he thought, why not invite the state of Wisconsin to join in this clean-up effort, since the Rock River originates there. Why not call it “The Great Rock River Sweep”? He began sharing his idea with others, and some of them came on board. By now, he had received Pregracke’s book, From the Bottom Up, and as he read, his confidence grew. He devised a rough outline for a clean-up to include the complete Rock River Valley, from Horicon, Wis., to Rock Island, Ill.
‘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 will require multiple subsections and coordinators to head up each subsection. Some of the duties of the section coordinator are as follows:
→ Work closely with RockRiverSweep.org organizers to assure a uniform and successful clean-up.
→ Acquire clean-up supplies and other support from local businesses (T-shirts, gloves, flyers, 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 RockRiverSweep.org) to assure a successful clean-up effort.
→ Register your section of the Rock River Sweep with RockRiverSweep.org 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 RockRiverSweep.org 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.
For more information about the Rock River Sweep, or to volunteer as a “Section Coordinator”, visit the Web site at www.rockriversweep.org or e-mail Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the July 14-20, 2010 issue
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