County Creek Day cleanup is a display of civic pride

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

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 ROBLESHost: City of Paso RoblesMeeting location: Larry Moore Park, Riverbank LaneContact: Patti Gwathmey, 227-1654Special Notes: Free lunch provided for volunteers. Wear work clothes and bring gloves, sunscreen and a hat.

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

ATASCADEROHosts: Atascadero Mutual Water Co. and the city of AtascaderoMeeting location: City Hall parking lotContact: Jaime Hendrickson 470-3148Special notes: Light snacks provided for volunteers.SANTA MARGARITAHosts: Citizens of Santa MargaritaMeeting location: Santa Margarita Community ParkContact: John Wilkins, 438-4501, or Heidi Petersen, 438-3329Special notes: Arrive at 8 a.m. for orientation. Wear work clothes and bring gloves.

CAL POLYHost: Environmental Health and Safety DepartmentMeeting location: Dexter LawnContact: Kim Porter, 756-6664Special notes: Great opportunity for new students and campus clubs to meet each other and beautify the campus. Site captains needed.

SAN LUIS OBISPOMeeting 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 ObispoContact: Teresa Tibstra, 544-9096, ext. 18, or Freddy Otte, 781-7511Special 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 CITIESHost: Central Coast Salmon EnhancementMeeting location: Nelson Green, Rotary BandstandContact: Stacy Halvorsen or Willie Richardson, 473-8221

NIPOMOHosts: County of San Luis Obispo and Nipomo Community Services DistrictMeeting location: Corner of West Tefft and Carillo streets, east of Highway 101Contact: Kelly Sypolt, 781-5256Special 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 www.CreekDay.org.

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