For 30 years, they’ve been volunteering to clean up the wetlands across the Coulee Region, and they’re back again Friday and Saturday, looking for help to continue the mission.
Chris O’Hearn, with the River Clean Up La Crosse committee, joined WIZM on Wednesday to talk about his decade of getting wet and dirty, and how you’re not only volunteering for a good cause, but there’s also the potential to learn some history with the trash you pull out.
It must have been one of O’Hearn’s first years with River Clean Up, but a time not all that unfamiliar to today — a Green Bay Packers quarterback leaving somewhat disgruntled, and a fan must have been cleaning out the garage in the most irresponsible way.
“Somebody had put together a full Brett Favre ‘Effigy,’ I think that’s the right word,” O’Hearn said. “This large thing on pontoons, floating down the river, with a sign that said, ‘We’re sending him back home to Mississippi.”
For those who set out to volunteer either at 8 a.m. Friday at the Sportsmans Club Landing in Trempealeau, or at the four spots below at 8 a.m. Saturday, there will likely be similar stories from veterans to the cause.
You can register early online or at any of the four locations on the day of the clean up.
RIVER CLEANUP LOCATIONS (8 a.m.)
REGISTER BY CLICKING HERE
- FRIDAY: Trempealeau boat landing
- SATURDAY: Green Island landing
- SATURDAY: Clinton Street landing
- SATURDAY: Fred Funk landing in Brice Prairie
- SATURDAY: Goose Island
With three decades of pulling trash out of the wetlands, the accumulation is massive.
“It’s river trash,” O’Hearn said. “It’s cans, it’s bottles.
“It is a bunch of volunteers getting together and cleaning up the river, and making a pretty massive impact, too. Over the years, (750,000) pounds of trash pulled out of the river, 2,917 barrels.”
Those barrels, likely from houseboats that end up coming loose.
O”Hearn added that volunteers are encouraged to bring a boat, a canoe or kayak — or, perhaps your Aaron Rodgers Effigy. Also, wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty but remember it might be hot out. And, just for peace of mind, know multiple emergency crews will be in the vicinity, in case anyone does medical attention.
The garbage collected will be put in dumpsters at each of the meeting sites. After the clean up is finished, a free lunch and after party with prizes will take place — around noon. There’s also potential for a free t-shirt for those who are registered early.