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Why I Sweep: An experience that lasts a lifetime


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This is one in a series of guest blogs about Riverkeeper Sweep, our annual day of service for the Hudson, involving more than 100 shoreline cleanups and planting projects on a single day in May. Please visit to sign up for a project happening near you on Saturday, May 4.


Riverkeeper has been organizing the Sweep about as long as my son, 7, has been alive. I took him to his first cleanup when he was 2 1/2 years old, at Plum Point on the Hudson.

He didn’t do much meaningful work in that first cleanup, but he had fun playing with the trash grabber.

We’ve since been to cleanups together on the Casperkill in Poughkeepsie, and the Hudson in Staatsburg, and we’ve planted trees along the Wallkill River in New Paltz.

We’ve become impossibly, delightfully muddy together. We’ve filled up several bags of trash that, as he will tell you, would otherwise float out into the Hudson and on toward the Atlantic Ocean.

The experiences have changed him, or more accurately, helped to make him who he is. We can’t get an ice cream cone without him picking up trash in the parking lot. He won’t leave any shoreline without picking up everything he can reach.

This week, we visited a park with a series of small ponds. He left the shoreline cleaner than he found it.

That’s why I Sweep.

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