Second Annual Rock River Sweep success

THANK YOU to everyone who turned out for our Second Annual Rock River Sweep on Saturday, Sept. 10. It was a gorgeous summer day, perfect for our cleanup. And the bottom line is: we exceeded a goal I had set for volunteer participation, we collected an amazing amount of garbage, and everyone had a good time doing it! Thanks to you, the river is in better shape today. We set a good example to everyone who saw us out there doing our thing.

I had hoped for double or triple the number of volunteers. Last year, we had 11, this year 42. YES!!! More people saw our posters and news releases, and (very important) last year’s crew spread the word about how much fun we had, and what a good experience it was. Individuals and family groups decided to come out and spend a morning doing something good for the environment. Again, thanks!

This year’s haul yielded the usual heap of plastics, styrofoam, metals, treated wood and old tires. Some unusual items were a flamingo beanie baby, five plastic patio chairs, a large political campaign sign washed down from Wisconsin, several short sections of railroad iron and spikes, hundreds of feet of electrical cord and garden hose, and two rusted brake drums.

Our canoeists and kayakers were able to reach islands and inaccessible corners to add to our total. Walkers braved steep banks, mosquitoes, tall grass and poison ivy to get the trash gathered in. A retired farmer brought his tractor to retrieve a massive section of 8-foot chain link fence complete with concrete footings and “No Trespassing” sign.

Many generous supporters provided posters, refreshments, pizza, watermelon, door prizes and supplies: Rockton Lions Club, Walmart, Menards, Green Quarter Landscaping and Design, Rockton Inn, Three Sheets Pub, First National Bank and Trust, First American Credit Union, Flotowood Services, Waste Management, JustGoods Fair Trade Store,, Marilyn Mohring, The Rock River Times, Rockton Mobil and Marco’s Pizza. Thanks to all for your continued support!

We collected 55 bags of garbage at 20 pounds per bag (1,100 pounds), 20 pounds of aluminum cans, 775 pounds of steel and iron, 11 tires, five chairs, seats from a boat, two 55-gallon drums, plus the junk mentioned above, for an estimated total of 3,000 pounds.

Our 42 volunteers worked at least 190 hours, plus many hours’ preparation put in by the two coordinators, Loren Floto and Tricia Nelson.

Our youngest and oldest participants were 4 and 73. There were eight teen-agers and several grade-school kids, all part of family groups.

I’m already thinking about our next venture, Sweep 2012. My resolution is to try and recruit a coordinator for South Beloit and Roscoe and get better coverage in 2012! Spread the word. We hope to welcome everyone back and do it all over again. And keep picking up trash wherever you see it! Thank you.

Loren Floto
Friends of the Rock

From the Sept. 21-27, 2011, issue

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