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2014 Riverkeeper Sweep: Our Biggest Day of Service Yet

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The 2014 Riverkeeper Sweep, the third annual day of service for the Hudson River, engaged 1,900 volunteers in 82 service projects throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley on Saturday, May 10.

It was our biggest day of service yet, with 36% more volunteers working at 14% more locations than in 2013. With Riverkeeper’s support, and the cooperation of hundreds of organizations, clubs, businesses, agencies and municipalities, more than 130 volunteers organized service projects in every county of the Hudson Valley and throughout New York City.

The amount of trash removed, however, was down 18% from 2013. That’s good news. It means that sites we’ve cleaned up in past years are not being abused as they once were.

The Riverkeeper Sweep is the signature New York event in the Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Series, presented nationally by Toyota. Our 2014 sponsors include the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, EILEEN FISHER, Paragon Sports, Sprout Watches, JSA Financial, L.L. Bean, Pleasant Valley Stone, the Green Schools Alliance, Mother Earth’s Storehouse, 1800-GOT-JUNK New City and these individuals: Joe and Daryl Boren; Sean Eldridge and Chris Hughes; and John and Jill Gilbert.

Our service partners include Metro-North Railroad, American Rivers, Bridgestone, Williams Home and Lumber Centers, Randall’s Island Park Alliance, Keep Rockland Beautiful, SeaTow Central Hudson, Coastal Preservation Network, the Empire Dragon Boat Team, Poughkeepsie, Tarrytown, Ossining and Sleepy Hollow.

Here’s a look at some our successes:

  • Number of service projects: 82 (up 14% from 2013)
  • Number of volunteers: 1,900 (up 36% from 2013)
  • Trash removed: 31 tons (down 18% from 2013)
  • Other service projects: Hudson River improvements at Mills-Norrie Point State Park, Staatsburg; habitat restoration at Randall’s Island Park, NYC.
  • Project with the most volunteers: Randall’s Island (189 over two days, including our Sweep kickoff event)
  • Project removing the most trash: Jennifer’s Annual Flushing Bay Cleanup (3,450 pounds)
  • Project planting the most trees: “Trees for Tribs” planting along the Coxing Kill in High Falls (Ulster County), a tributary stream in the Hudson River Watershed (80 trees)

More difficult to quantify, but equally valuable: Inspiration. The volunteers come away feeling pumped and eager to do more to protect the river they love. Here’s what one volunteer in Albany, Karen McCaffrey, said: “This is the river community taking care of the river – that’s what it’s all about.”

Indeed. Thank you to our 130 Sweep Leaders who organized local projects, hundreds of partner groups, clubs, municipalities and businesses who supported them, 12 breweries who offered volunteers a free beverage after the cleanup, and all 1,900 volunteers who took part. This is what it takes to clean the river!

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