HAYWOOD — Show your pride for Haywood County’s environment with one of several events seeking volunteers to help clean-up streams and waterways.
While Earth Day technically falls on April 22, all of April has been declared Earth month, and Haywood Waterways Association is hosting a line-up of events for the public to take part in.
An RSVP is required by the day prior to each event to ensure enough supplies are on hand. Contact Christine O’Brien at Christine.email@example.com or 828-476-4667 ext. 11. Social distancing will be observed, and a mask will be required when volunteers are in close proximity.
• 9-11 a.m. Thursday, April 22: Chestnut Mountain Park clean-up and invasive plant removal, Canton.
Volunteers will tackle a clean-up of Hominy Creek, which runs through the recently protected 450-acre Chestnut Mountain Park outside Canton. Plans are underway to develop the tract for public outdoor recreation.
The stream clean-up and invasive plant removal will help prepare the site for future stream restoration, trails and visitor amenities. The workday is a joint initiative by Haywood Waterways, Haywood County Recreation, the town of Canton, and Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.
Gloves, trash bags, trash grabbers, and snacks will be provided. Wear close-toed shoes and long pants that can get dirty and wet if you want to get into the water.
• 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 24: Waynesville Recreation Park trash pick-up.
The cleanup will take place along the walking trail and stream bank of Richland Creek. Gloves, trash bags, trash grabbers, and snacks will be provided. Wear close-toed shoes and long pants that can get dirty and wet if you want to get into the water.
• 2-3 p.m. Tuesday, April 27: Waynesville Rec Park invasive plant removal
Invasive plants are a significant threat to forests, wildlife, and water quality. They choke out and strangle native species, which means less food for wildlife. Invasive vines will also bring down trees that provide important shade along the creekbank.
Hand removal is the best way to eliminate invasive plants along streams, as chemicals are extremely harmful to wildlife and drinking water supplies. Refreshments provided. RSVP not necessary but helpful for planning.
• Anytime, any location: Bucket Brigade
The Bucket Brigade is Haywood Waterways’ adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic giving individuals, families and groups the opportunity to protect stream health. Volunteers can check out a trash removal kit for a week at a time.
The kit contains trash bags, grabbers, gloves, safety vests, and a data sheet to record how much trash was picked up. Afterward, simply return the bucket and leftover supplies to the location they were received.
Buckets are available at the Canton and Waynesville library locations. Haywood Waterways can provide a list of recommended sites. The Bucket Brigade is a collaborative effort with the Haywood Soil & Water Conservation District, Haywood County Solid Waste, and Haywood County Public Library.