County Creek Day cleanup is a display of civic pride

Organizers invite county residents to volunteer Saturday to clean local waterways in a gathering of the community

bcuddy@thetribunenews.comSeptember 9, 2012 

San Luis Creek in downtown SLO. photo jayson mellom 9-9-12

JAYSON MELLOM — The Tribune Buy Photo

Trash and other debris along the county’s many waterways will disappear, at least temporarily, if county residents harness their pride and join in the 21st annual County Creek Day cleanup this weekend, organizers say.

The event takes place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at numerous locations throughout the county, from the Salinas River in the North County to the Santa Maria River near Nipomo.

Organizers are touting the cleanup as a family affair as well as a celebration of community pride.

Teresa Tibstra, who is helping coordinate the event, said it gives residents “the opportunity to take pride and ownership of their neighborhood, parks and open spaces.” It also “promote(s) active stewardship on all our waterways,” she said.

Tibstra suggested bringing the entire family or joining with others for a treasure hunt. Those younger than 18 must bring an adult to sign for them.

Tibstra said bags and gloves will be provided but encouraged volunteers to wear long sleeves, sturdy shoes and sunscreen, and to dress for a variety of weather conditions.

Garbage, she said, finds its way into waterways from overflowing trash cans and careless litterbugs. Winter rains wash that debris into the ocean and onto beaches.

Trash pollution threatens wildlife, harms the environment, impacts the local economy and makes our community less attractive to residents, visitors and tourists, she said.

Clean creeks and clean water, Tibstra went on, are required to protect public health, grow food and fiber, provide homes for fish and wildlife, create opportunities for public recreation and promote sustainable economic development.

Creek Day is a collaborative countywide effort led by the Atascadero Mutual Water Co., Cal Poly, Central Coast Salmon Enhancement, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo, the Nipomo Community Services District, the county of San Luis Obispo, the cities of San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and Atascadero, Central Coast Partners for Water Quality, and the Templeton Community Services District.

Tibstra and other organizers listed several cleanup stations and hosts. Volunteers can check in at a local station and will be directed to sites in need in their local area.

Where to go to help local creeks

Here is a listing of places countywide where volunteers can check in before starting a cleanup project. Work starts at 9 a.m. and runs to noon:

PASO ROBLES Host: City of Paso Robles Meeting location: Larry Moore Park, Riverbank Lane Contact: Patti Gwathmey, 227-1654 Special Notes: Free lunch provided for volunteers. Wear work clothes and bring gloves, sunscreen and a hat.

TEMPLETON Host: Templeton Community Services District Meeting location: District board room, 206 Fifth St. Contact: AJ Parisi, 434-4914, or Teresa Edwards, 434-4828

ATASCADERO Hosts: Atascadero Mutual Water Co. and the city of Atascadero Meeting location: City Hall parking lot Contact: Jaime Hendrickson 470-3148 Special notes: Light snacks provided for volunteers. SANTA MARGARITA Hosts: Citizens of Santa Margarita Meeting location: Santa Margarita Community Park Contact: John Wilkins, 438-4501, or Heidi Petersen, 438-3329 Special notes: Arrive at 8 a.m. for orientation. Wear work clothes and bring gloves.

CAL POLY Host: Environmental Health and Safety Department Meeting location: Dexter Lawn Contact: Kim Porter, 756-6664 Special notes: Great opportunity for new students and campus clubs to meet each other and beautify the campus. Site captains needed.

SAN LUIS OBISPO Meeting location: Santa Rosa Park (corner of Santa Rosa and Oak Streets) Hosts: The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County and city of San Luis Obispo Contact: Teresa Tibstra, 544-9096, ext. 18, or Freddy Otte, 781-7511 Special notes: Ample parking, but volunteers will be sent to more than 20 other sites throughout the city. One or two volunteers with pickups needed. Free breakfast rolls and coffee provided.

FIVE CITIES Host: Central Coast Salmon Enhancement Meeting location: Nelson Green, Rotary Bandstand Contact: Stacy Halvorsen or Willie Richardson, 473-8221

NIPOMO Hosts: County of San Luis Obispo and Nipomo Community Services District Meeting location: Corner of West Tefft and Carillo streets, east of Highway 101 Contact: Kelly Sypolt, 781-5256 Special notes: Morning snacks and lunch will be provided.

Volunteers can check in at a local station and will be directed to sites in need in their local area.

For more information, visit

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