Oothcalooga Creek

Oothcalooga Creek runs alongside the Recreation Department and River Park.

Volunteers are invited to pull on their oldest, most mud-friendly shoes and grab a garbage bag this Saturday, Oct. 12, as part of Calhoun’s fall Rivers Alive clean-up. The day will kick off at 9 a.m. at the Calhoun City Recreation Department’s Ratner Pavillion, located at 601 S. River St., and will continue until about noon.

Participants will be provided with all the supplies needed to get in and help clean out litter from the stretch of Oothcalooga Creek that runs alongside the Recreation Department and the River Park. It is advised that they dress in shoes and clothes that can be dirtied.

John Banks, who organized the event, said Saturday’s event will mark the first time the city has hosted its own Rivers Alive clean-up. He hopes it will be an opportunity to educate the community about how to treat local waterways and prevent them from being bogged down with trash and garbage.

“Oothcalooga Creek crosses the highway up above where we will be cleaning and stuff gets into the water and washes down. I don’t think people realize that if it gets in there, there’s no telling how far it will go down through the rest of the water,” Banks said. “I want them to leave Saturday knowing the importance of picking trash up before it reaches the creek. The best thing to do is to prevent trash from getting in from the start, that way we don’t have to come out and have big clean ups.”

The educational portion of the day will happen before the cleaning begins. Banks said he will talk to participants about how safety for the clean-up and the dangers of flushing things like pharmaceuticals, which can end up in the river, and of draining oil and similar substances into local waterways. He also warned that cigarette filters that find their way into the water can pose a big problem for fish that mistake them as food, eat them, and often die or get sick.

“We just want people to know that if they see something on the side of the road, it’ll eventually end up in the water,” Banks said. “Picking that piece of trash up instead of just walking by it really does make a difference when we’re talking about our rivers and creeks.”

Those who can’t attend the clean-up on Saturday are encouraged to take steps to keep Calhoun and its rivers and creeks clean on their own by ensuring any garbage located in vehicles or the beds of trucks stays there and is bagged up tightly, picking up garbage and litter in ditches or yards, and by being more aware of what they’re throwing away and how.

For more information, John Banks can be reached at 706-602-6053 or by email at jbanks@calnet-ga.net.

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