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Record-setting turnout for Muddy River clean-up

Posted by Roy Greene  April 20, 2011 08:12 PM

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trashpile.jpg

(Jennifer Gorden photo for boston.com)


Some of the trash collected during the weekend clean-up.

More than 450 Fenway residents joined forces last weekend to clean up the Muddy River, picking up more than 700 bags full of trash along the banks from the Landmark Center through the Back Bay Fens.

Emily Procknal, a senior resident assistant at Northeastern University, gathered 10 of her residents to join in the effort to clean up debris around the Charles River tributary.

“We worked our way from our starting station directly back to campus, just picking up glass, cigarette butts, bottles and any other random garbage we found,” Procknal said.

“I believe this event is so popular because it invites people of all ages to help out for a great cause,” said Teressa Bryant, project assistant for the Emerald Necklace Conservancy. “People can really make a huge difference in those short three hours, and it is extremely rewarding.”

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy partnered with the Charles River Watershed Association for the 12th annual clean-up. Volunteers worked to clean up four sections of the Back Bay Fens. They were provided with gloves, trash bags, a snack and a free T-shirt for participating.

This year, for the first time, instead of just collecting trash, some groups separated recyclable bottles into a separate bag, in support of the Massachusetts Bottle Bill.

“It’s been a huge success,” said Emily Muldoon, a spokeswoman for the Conservancy. “Last year was a success, and we only had 200 people, which was good for the time . . . It shows people are really passionate about cleaning the parks, and it’s something that people like to come back for, year after year.”

“I’m really glad about the resident response,” Procknal said. “These residents are engaged in the community and want to do something good in their area.”

Volunteers said they enjoyed their time in the Fens. As part of Boston University’s Global Day of Service, there were more than 500 people around the city doing public service projects. Dozens of BU students participated in the Muddy River clean-up.

“I use this park a lot, and I like to clean it up and keep it clean,” said Sean Flaherty, a member of the BU effort. “I found a couple of chairs, crazy stuff, but we got it all cleaned up.”
“We basically found a whole car -- we could assemble a car from everything we’ve gotten. It’s pretty cool!” said Megan Harrington, a member of the Husky Energy Action Team at Northeastern University.

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy has partnered with the Charles River Watershed Association since 2008 to host the clean-up. Hundreds of student groups, volunteers and community organizations came together for the day. Statewide, there were over 3,500 volunteers participating in clean-up projects along the Charles.

Whole Foods and JP Licks, among others, donated cereal bars and coffee for the volunteers. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day brought mobile hand-washing sinks for volunteers to clean their hands after picking up trash.

Besides participants involved in Boston University’s global service day, volunteers participating in the Muddy River clean-up were affiliated with groups including: Saint Joseph’s University Alum- 1988; IBM; Georgetown Visitation Alumni Association; Sigma Beta Rho Fraternity of BU; Boston Orange, Colleges of the Fenway; Young Alumni Volunteer Association; Pi Delta Psi of NU; Delta Zeta of NU; Roxbury Tenants of Harvard; Beta Gamma Epsilon of NU; NU students from Davenport Commons Dorm and 337 Huntington; Real Adventures; Genzyme; Boston Cares; Sigma Alpha Epsilon of Emerson; Payette, Walden School; and CLARION Healthcare, LLC.

This article was reported and written by Northeastern University journalism student Jennifer Gorden, under the supervision of journalism instructor Lisa Chedekel (l.chedekel@neu.edu), as part of collaboration between The Boston Globe and Northeastern.

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