River society hosting cleanup of Muscatatuck

The head of a society that cleans and cares for the Muscatatuck River views the task differently than some would.

“It isn’t work, it’s fun,” said Troy Jackson, president of the Friends of the Muscatatuck River Society.

He is inviting everyone to share in the fun. The Friends of the Muscatatuck River Society will host the 18th Annual Spring River Cleanup from 8 a.m. to noon April 27.

Individuals, families and groups can volunteer to help.

“We pride ourselves on always having something for everyone to do,” Jackson said, explaining there are many ways to help during the cleanup.

Groups of volunteers cover sections of the river throughout Jennings County, collecting everything from bits of trash to cars. Some will walk along the river bank and collect trash. Some will paddle canoes down the river to locate trash or clutter. Others will drive trucks and SUVs to help remove trash.

“You wouldn’t believe the stuff we find, but with everyone pitching in, it turns into fun,” said Jackson, who added that groups usually start calling in January about the cleanup date.

Volunteers will help count, weigh and record trash removed from the river. Even volunteers with limited mobility can help by doing administrative tasks the day of the cleanup.

“The Jennings County Highway Department pitches in to help with their trucks and drivers, but this year we can also use extra SUVs,” Jackson said.

The first river clean-up was conducted in 1998 with only 12 volunteers. The Friends of the Muscatatuck River Society was officially organized five years later in 2003 and has sponsored river cleanup days since then.

The Spring River Cleanup day has grown in participation. The largest involved 183 volunteers, Jackson said, but most years it has 80 to 100. The most trash collected in one day was 16,000 pounds, he added, but most years it’s about 10,000.

Registration for the cleanup is 8 a.m. April 27 at the Vernon Commons, located at the edge of Jackson Street in Vernon.

After the cleanup ends, participants will share a free lunch at North Vernon City Park’s Shelter House 1.

For more information, call Jackson at 812-592-0481 or Tom Moore at 812-592-0319, or go online at facebook.com/groups/FriendsOfMuscatatuck/.