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Westfield River Watershed Association continues river cleanups; fall volunteer event scheduled

Trash collected at a recent river cleanup by the Westfield River Watershed Assoc. (SUBMITTED PHOTO/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

WESTFIELD – Sheryl Becker, of the Westfield River Watershed Association, said although the organization had to cancel its spring cleanup this year, collecting trash at the river is an ongoing process.
“Since we didn’t have our spring cleanup this year; we’re doing our own little cleanups,” Becker said. She said her group has been conducting unpublicized cleanups throughout the month of June, and will continue in July.
The large fall cleanup, which the Watershed Association conducts in conjunction with the Connecticut River Conservancy is scheduled for Sat., Sept. 26 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers will meet no later than 9 a.m. at two locations; public parking lot at the end of Meadow St. across from Westfield School of Music, and in Agawam at Pynchon Point at the South End Bridge Circle, River Road where they will be given supplies and locations.
Meanwhile, Becker reminded everyone who enjoys spending time at the rivers that they need to clean up after themselves, and bring a trash bag with them. She said this includes people who are fishing. “Fishing line can do so much damage,” she said.
“Everything that goes into the river goes straight to the ocean,” Becker said. “It’s very important to keep our rivers and streams clean.”
She also expressed concern about the increased use of fireworks, and the debris and chemicals that are left behind. “Fireworks do serious damage to our ecosystems, especially our rivers and streams. Aquatic ecosystems suffer when fireworks are lit along the bank. People don’t think about animals in the water and all the toxins,” Becker said.
“Animals are so scared, they separate from their families. Even small fireworks can do damage. Even in the uplands, they are really damaging to wildlife. We’ve got to think about the environment and our fellow creatures,” she added.
Anyone interested in learning more about the work of the Watershed Association or in signing up for the fall cleanup, may contact Mark Damon for the Westfield cleanup at 413-977-1577 or [email protected] For the Agawam cleanup, contact Sheryl Becker at 413-374-1921 or [email protected]
“It’s our responsibility to take care of it. No one else is going to do it,” Becker said.

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