Local environmental organizations and volunteers are teaming up for a much-needed cleanup of Hurricane Creek located in Tuscaloosa County on Saturday, April 2, 2021.

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John Wathen and his organization, Hurricane Creekkeeper will be conducting Saturday's event. According to Wathen, Hurricane Creekkeeper is a local environmental organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of Hurricane Creek and its watersheds.

"We've been around since 1993. This is the 28th Hurricane Creek cleanup, which makes it the longest-running continuous cleanup in the state," Wathen said. "We've been doing this for a long time. We haul tons of garbage out of this community."

The event is expected to begin around 9 a.m. as people will begin to gather, set up and receive their work assignments for the day. The cleanup will be followed by a nice campfire where participants can relax after a day full of hard work.

"We got one group that's coming to bring some boats and float down the creek and pick up garbage along the way. We'll do a little work around Hwy 216, park up there and then gather back down here at the Holt Peterson's site location by, say, 12 o'clock," he said. "We're going to have some people working in the campground doing the groundwork that we need help with invasive species...just sprucing up the campground."

The cleanup event will be opened to the public and everyone is encouraged to follow social distancing guidelines. This year, participants are asked to bring sack lunches as opposed to a meal for the usual potluck. This decision was made to further protect everyone who wishes to come and lend a helping hand on Saturday.

"We didn't do the cleanup last year, we had it limited, there [there were only] about six or eight people that came last year because frankly, we were pretty scared of the way things were developing with the COVID cases," Wathen said. "This year, we feel like we've got adequate room for people to come out and remain distant. You know, we can't really demand anyone wear masks, but we suggest it."

The Alabama community plays a great role in the success of these yearly cleanup events.

"[I would like to give] a special shout out to Rumsey Environmental Services for donating a 30-yard dumpster. So that I mean, we can literally haul tons of trash away. And they've done this now for 18 years," Wathen said. "It's a community effort and for us; there's no charge. It's the friends of Hurricane Creek's way [of giving back] to the community for supporting us all year." 

"It's a great day to get outside. We've all been cooped up for so long with this COVID stuff," Wathen said.

For more information about Saturday's cleanup on Hurricane Creek, click here.

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