This year’s event won’t take place on one day as it has in years past. The group asks people to volunteer to clean sections of the river on their own between June 6 and June 20 and then report back to the Little Miami River Kleeners. Everyone who participates will be entered into a prize drawing.
“Families can just sign up and say, ‘We’re going to clean this little section of the river,’” Evans said. “They can clean it on the river, or they can go to a local park and clean along the river on the banks. We’re going to encourage people to stay in their family, within your immediate group that you hang out with normally, and they’re going to be able to choose a day.”
Registration will open May 15. At that time, the organization will provide more details on how the clean-up will work and provide safety guidelines.
Over the years, the Little Miami River Kleeners have seen everything in river. Hope said it’s mostly a mix of Styrofoam from coolers that have fallen apart, plastic water bottles, flip flops, beer cans — smaller things like that. Every year, it’s also a treasure hunt of sorts as volunteers compete to find the strangest pieces of trash.
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“When you pull a washing machine out of the river, you know you’ve done something,” Hope said. “Or tires. They can get very heavy when they get filled with sand. Since 2010, we’ve taken out about 12 tons of trash and 900 tires. There’s a lot in there. You think you’ve got it all, and the next year there’s more.”
The clean-up stretches from John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs to Corwin in Warren County. Hope usually picks a section of the river no one else has signed up for and cleans it with friends. She hopes for a good turnout this year despite the new guidelines. It’s a great excuse to get outside when so much else around the state is closed.
“It’s amazing how much the bike trails and parks are getting used,” Hope said. “I see a lot of kayakers go past our house. I know people are out there. I know the high water we had this spring has brought a lot of trash down because I have a lot of in my yard. We need to take care of it. If you skip a year, the next year is doubly worse.”