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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Springtime brings many opportunities to improve our waterways

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Spring brings rebirth and rejuvenation. We start seeing buds on the trees and witness early season flowers and plants poking up from the soil to see if it’s safe to come out and greet the world. As the snow melts, however, it also unveils a lot of litter and debris left behind — or worse, trash that will wash into our waterways with the spring rains.

At the same time, after a year of the pandemic, we are anxious to gather with others, to be in the fresh air and in nature. It’s the perfect time to start planning for ways to satisfy all these needs through community efforts that will benefit our waterways.

Clean Our Watershed

Friends of the White River’s (FOWR) new #CleanOurWatershed campaign is a great way to get outside with friends and family safely, pick up litter and see the positive results. #CleanOurWatershed is a program launched last fall with the support of Citizens Energy Group and continuing in 2021 with support from ROW through its Events Grant, funded by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. 

FOWR provides a packet of supplies (trash bag, gloves and tally sheet) to launch your personal #CleanOurWatershed effort along the river or a tributary, in a park or school ground, or even the street where you live! You choose where and when you pick up litter, whether with friends or family. You are only asked to track what you collected, where and when, and FOWR compiles the information. It’s fun, easy and allows you to help your community while staying safe and social distancing. 

Get started by sending your request with the number of people who will participate to friendsofwhiteriver@yahoo.com.

Clean Choices Clean Water

White River Alliance has relaunched its Clear Choices Clean Water (CCCW) program. Already a successful campaign that offers many pledge opportunities to keep our water clean, the new website and enhanced tools make it easier to be stewards for the water that sustains us.

Whether you want to improve our waterways by cleaning (and adopting) a storm drain near your home or school; or you commit to picking up your pet waste; or you want to plant native pollinator plants — the new resources offer a wide array of pledge options and a way to measure your positive impacts individually and collectively.

Another new feature to the CCCW program includes volunteer service opportunities and tools for organizing local campaigns with your neighbors, co-workers or other groups. Check out all the exciting new tools at indiana.clearchoicescleanwater.org
KIB Clean-Up and Other Programs

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) continues to be a leader in keeping our neighborhoods and our waterways clean. While probably best known for their support of neighborhood cleanups, KIB has many program offerings.

Neighbors can Adopt-A-Block, build a greenspace, restore natural areas overgrown by harmful invasive plants and improve urban air and water quality through tree plantings. KIB offers many volunteer opportunities for people of all ages, including corporate team building events. No matter whether you are ready to get outside with your co-workers, neighbors, friends or classmates, working with KIB is a great way to improve your community. And, when you keep your neighborhood clean, you keep our waterways clean.

Learn about the many KIB programs and volunteer opportunities at www.kibi.org.
Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW) works with many community partners to help lift up waterway neighborhoods across Indianapolis. Plan now for the warming temperatures, find ways to gather in nature safely, and make our city the best it can be. Get involved with any of the groups noted above or join a community-led volunteer waterway effort along our six waterways — Central Canal, Fall Creek, Little Eagle Creek, Pleasant Run, Pogue’s Run or White River— at ourwaterways.org or info@ourwaterways.org.

Julie L. Rhodes is collective impact director for Reconnecting to Our Waterways.

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