canoe-cleanup-070The Western North Carolina Alliance is co-hosting the Blue Ridge Big Sweep, an annual, multi-county stream cleanup starting at 10 a.m. on Sept. 21.

The Blue Ridge Big Sweep is an international litter cleanup program that brings citizens and community organizations together to clear trash from their waterways. Other organizations co-hosting the event include Asheville GreenWorks, the Environmental and Conservation Organization of Western North Carolina (ECO) and RiverLink.

Though each of these organizations has hosted Big Sweep events in the past, this is the first time we’re coming together to offer community members volunteer opportunities for this event at the regional level.

Cleanup teams include civic organizations, scout troops, church groups, school groups, Adopt-A-Stream teams, neighborhood associations, city and county departments and local businesses.

Residents in Henderson, Buncombe and surrounding counties can participate in the Big Sweep by registering with friends and family or by joining an existing team.

WNCA’s 2012 Big Sweep partnership with Asheville Greenworks, Sierra Nevada and Southern Appalachian Highlands Brewery involved 98 volunteers who cleaned up 15 miles of river way and hauled out 14,100 lbs. of trash.

WNCA and its volunteers will meet at Zen Tubing (1648 Brevard Road) at 10 a.m. on Sept. 21 to determine tasks. Volunteers will be rewarded with food and Sierra Nevada beer (for those 21 and over) for their hard work.

Contact WNCA volunteer coordinator Cynthia Camilleri to sign up by emailing Cynthia@WNCA.org or call her 258-8737, ext. 207. You may also contact WNCA’s French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson at Hartwell@WNCA.org or 828-258-8737, ext. 211.

For more information on other participating hosts contact:
• Asheville GreenWorks: Call 828-254-1776 or visit www.ashevillegreenworks.org
• ECO: Call 828-692-0385 or visit www.eco-wnc.org
• RiverLink: Call 828- 252-8474, visit www.riverlink.org or email at jess@riverlink.org