Big Cahaba Cleanup 2020–NOW VIRTUAL
Like most organizations and people, the Cahaba River Society is feeling the far-reaching effects of the fight against Covid-19. All of our face-to-face programs and events have been canceled until further notice to help “flatten the curve” of virus transmission. This unfortunately must include the Big Cahaba Cleanup scheduled for May 2.
Postponing this large event until a later date, such as late November/early December, is uncertain because of river flow, weather, and volunteer availability issues. Although the event itself will not happen has planned, we have developed a two-pronged strategy for achieving the same results.
First, when conditions permit we will clean the same stretches of the Cahaba River–just not all in one day. Promotional t-shirts with our partners’ logos prominently displayed will be handed out at cleanup events. We have secured a full-time paid intern to lead a stewardship crew on cleanup and streambank restoration projects this summer, or as soon as we are able. This and other initiatives will allow us to reduce dangerous and damaging litter in the Cahaba River, and to keep our message in front of the public. We notice that many people are practicing social distancing in nature. Trips to and along the river are a great way to get needed exercise and maintain a healthy mental attitude. We will be suggesting that picking up some litter while outside can be a great “twofer” by helping ourselves and simultaneously getting litter out of our drinking water. We’ll be posting advice on how to gather litter safely, and will ask folks to send us pictures of what is collected. We will in turn post those pictures to support our second initiative.
Second, we will push the media message. While actually removing trash from our drinking water is important, all along we have been more focused on preemptively keeping litter out of the river by delivering a message: trash has to be disposed of properly or we will imperil a critical resource that sustains our community. “Don’t litter. It ends up in your drinking water.”
The current situation does not change our ability to push this message. In fact, it might create new opportunities to air this message more widely. Many folks are now working and learning from home, and we feel that this is an ideal time to create online resources that educate people about the need to reduce our impact on the watershed. For example, we are actively working to create additional videos to go along with the three we produced last year about litter.
Again, we very much appreciate everyone’s willingness to help and partner with us in protecting our most important drinking water source. Thank you, and we’ll be in touch as soon as we can safely hold cleanups again.
Save the date for the largest Cahaba Cleanup ever: May 2, 2020!
Don’t litter–it ends up in your River! Cahaba River Society brings you the largest ever one-day Cahaba Cleanup event where we will clean up to 50 miles of the River from Trussville to Helena! What: The largest 1-day Cahaba River Cleanup will cover up to 50 miles of the Cahaba River – Alabama’s longest remaining free-flowing river and the “biological heart” of American’s Amazon.
Why: To restore natural beauty and reduce pollution of this iconic river (and a primary source of Birmingham’s drinking water) while educating the public about reducing litter and encouraging recycling.
Who: Cahaba River Society, volunteers, community and corporate sponsors and partners.
How: With your help! This event would not be possible without the generosity of volunteers and sponsors like you.
Want to become a sponsor?
We have a variety of options to suit every budget. Click below to learn about opportunities.
Since our beginnings, Cahaba River Society has led volunteers in cleaning up areas of the River. The Big Cahaba Cleanup will condense and amplify the efforts and impacts of volunteers through a one-day project engaging people from Cahaba communities across all sectors, offering opportunities for corporate partners, civic and faith groups, local governments, and individuals to make an impact in cleaning up the Cahaba River.
This large, new event will not only clean more trash, it will also draw media coverage for widespread public education encouraging people and businesses to do their part to clean up and recycle their litter to keep it from getting into the river where it impacts drinking water & wildlife.
“River Teams” of 10 to 20 volunteers in canoes and kayaks will clean each section, with all groups putting in at roughly the same time at up to 7 different locations. These teams may be organized by businesses, churches, civic groups, universities, neighborhoods or other communities. Each will be led by a “River Leader” skilled in paddling, river safety, and river trip organization. Shore Teams will each of a “Shore Leader” and those teams will focus on supporting the River Teams while also cleaning up the river access sites.
Stay tuned for more details coming soon.