CHAMPAIGN — Tired of looking at the trash?
Here’s a chance to help restore the Champaign-Urbana and Savoy areas to their cleaner appearance by clearing streams, retention ponds and parks of accumulated waste.
It’s been three years since a large-scale community cleanup called Boneyard Creek Community Day took place, and it returns on April 9.
And probably not a day too soon.
Organized by the Towns of Champaign and Urbana and their Park Districts, the Village of Savoy and several other groups, this event last took place in April 2019 and was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic -19, said Zoe Southlynn-Savage, special events manager for the Champaign Park District.
Although there have been a few small groups that have cleaned up on their own in the meantime, she said, not doing a larger annual cleanup for a few years has had an impact.
“Right now it’s pretty bad, because we haven’t been able to do the big cleanup,” she said.
Litter doesn’t just look bad. According to the event’s website, it can clog storm drains, lead to flooding and harm aquatic life.
To illustrate what can pile up in just one year and what a small army of volunteers can achieve, at the last event in 2019, 392 volunteers removed 30 cubic meters of trash from 468 acres of land, cleaned 6.25 miles of shoreline and removed 8 hectares of invasive species, according to the event’s website.
This year, volunteers will work from 9 a.m. to noon in the following areas of Champaign-Urbana: Scott Park, Kaufman Lake/Heritage Park, Boneyard Creek Crossing, Boulware Trail, Anita Purves Nature Center, the University of Illinois and North Prospect. Street. Volunteers will also work along US 45 in Savoie.
Helpers are asked to register at boneyardcreek.org by April 6, and those who register in advance can choose their location and go directly to these sites, where organizers will be waiting with information and supplies, said Southlynn-Savage.
Those who do not register and decide to help out on the day of the event are also welcome, but should first come to Scott Park, 207 E. Springfield Ave., C, for directions and locations. work, Southlynn-Savage said.
“We won’t turn anyone away,” she said.
Volunteers will receive supplies such as sticks for picking up trash, buckets and gloves, as well as bright orange t-shirts.
And they are asked to dress for outdoor work. Those planning to remove litter and invasive plant species from the water are also advised to wear boots.
About 200 volunteers have already signed up and about 200 more are needed, according to Southlynn-Savage.
Volunteers will work in the morning, then all will be invited to a thank you celebration in Scott Park, including a free lunch, music and educational exhibits.