The group gathered at the Gordon County Extension Office on McDaniel Station Rd. at 9 a.m. for a safety brief by Becky Pass, Gordon County Extension Associate.
Pass explained the cleanup would take place at the 225 Boat ramp. Students were instructed to don protective gloves they were given at all times, as well as certain materials to be on the lookout for, and handling procedures should they come across dangerous materials.
Executive Director of NERA, Dan McBee also spoke to students about the non-profit agency that protected river areas in Gordon County.
McBee explained students would be working to clean the banks of the Coosawatee river, and the importance of keeping the rivers clean.
“Cleanup helps with beautification, but also the fish who eat what’s in the river. Cigarette butts they think is a worm, and they can get cancer just like us,” said McBee.
NERA monitors more than 20 river sites in Gordon County year round and offers weekend paddles for fun, and even to raise awareness for certain causes.
Pass also provided students with informative literature about decomposition rates of materials littered into the rivers.
“It takes one glass bottle one million years to decompose,” said Pass, who explained the importance of being aware of what littering does to the rivers and the environment.
Students were given t-shirts, gloves and were transported to the river site for the cleanup. The group worked for two to three hours in the cold drizzle of Monday morning, but came away with a huge load of trash.
“They collected everything from car tires to sign posts to paper, bottles and cans,” said McBee. “They did a great job this year. Public awareness and education is the key to preserving and protecting one of the most valuable assets of our communities, our rivers.”
Gordon County 4H has something for every kid, according to Greg Bowman, also with the Gordon County Extension 4H program.
“You don’t have to live on a farm, you don’t have to have animals, we excel in community and leadership opportunities for kids,” said Bowman.
Not only helping in the community, the Gordon County 4H is setting state and national records competing at all levels in the livestock division.
For more information on how to get involved with the Gordon County 4H, contact the local extension office at 706-629-8685.