Wrapping Up River Cleanup: What We Didn’t Expect to Find

By Katherine Cheney

Last week marked Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc.’s (GMCR) ninth annual Vermont River Cleanup event. After several days of removing trash, canoeing down the river, and getting sufficiently covered in mud, over 250 Vermont-based GMCR employees successfully removed hundreds of tires and endless amounts of trash from the Winooski River.

Last year, GMCR volunteers removed almost 1,000 tires from the Winooski River during the five day event, which took place a year after Hurricane Irene devastated Vermont. This year, volunteers were shocked to see that only a year later, there was still an abundance of trash and tires to be removed once again. On the first day alone, 120 tires were removed from the water and banks of the Winooski River.

Among the expected trash that was found, volunteers also removed some other strange items from the murky waters. When I made my way down to the river to check out the action, I was surprised to see some of these obscure items surfacing. Among them was…

  • A muddy and beat up orange traffic cone
  • A long lost doll who had definitely seen better days
  • A few rusty hub caps
  • A ceiling fan that only held on to one blade
  • A red baby swing
  • A very soggy and very muddy sleeping bag
  • A broken white plastic lawn chair
  • A window screen
  • Plenty of old shoes with no pair

This list is a mere snapshot of the variety of items that were pulled from the river this week. GMCR employee’s dedication to helping their local communities shines through during the week of River Cleanup. The Winooski River is cleaner and clearer thanks to the employees who took time out of their days to jump in canoes and dig through the mud and water last week.

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