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Annual River Clean Up in north Fulton is fun, effective
by Joan Durbin
September 25, 2013 02:03 PM | 2557 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Volunteers Dave Flannery, Jennie Agerton and Julie Burroughs get a head start before the Rivers Alive event.
Volunteers Dave Flannery, Jennie Agerton and Julie Burroughs get a head start before the Rivers Alive event.
In 13 years of helping RiversAlive clean up a north Fulton segment of the Chattahoochee River, Julie Burroughs has plucked some unique items from the water and shoreline.

“The first year I participated, I found an open and empty safe in the river under the Roswell Road bridge,” she said.

More of her strange finds include a large framed medallion, tires, BB gun, grill, truck tool box, baby doll, big wheel and a small refrigerator.

The most common items she has collected are tennis balls, plastic bottles and shoes, “never a matched pair,” Burroughs said.

Last year, Burroughs accompanied the Environmental Club from Centennial High School in its river clean up quest. The volunteers rafted from Island Ford Park and stopped on the island to pick up trash.

“We hiked almost the entire length of the island not finding much trash, and then at the southern tip we found ‘gold,’” Burroughs said. “The students were so excited. They collected enough bottles and cans to fill a canoe full of trash.

“They were also appalled that people, probably teenagers, would leave so much litter and desecrate the beauty of the island.”

The Roswell RiversAlive festival, part of Georgia's annual river clean-up Rivers Alive, comes to north Fulton on Saturday..

The actual clean up runs from 8:30 to 11 a.m. followed by a cookout at 11:15 a.m. at Riverside Park.

“It’s a great event for all ages and level of involvement. You can take a stroll and pick up trash or you can get really dirty pulling trash out of a creek or river,” Burroughs said. Trash bags and gloves are provided.

“Everyone goes off in different directions for the cleanup and returns with their finds. It is exciting to see how much your trash weighs and who found the coolest trash,” she said.

Volunteers are also needed for removal of privet, an invasive species, at Riverside Park and the Chattahoochee Nature Center, as well as litter pick up and storm drain marking in surrounding areas. Those who own a canoe or kayak are encouraged to bring them to the clean-up.

Since the Roswell event began, “we have noticed a big change in the cleanliness of the river,” said Janet Liberman, executive director of Keep Roswell Beautiful, one of the event sponsors.

“Six or seven years ago we were collecting six tons of materials during this event and the last three years, we are down to about 1.2 tons. We believe people are noticing how nice the river looks after a clean up and are making an effort to keep it that way.”

In Alpharetta, tasks will include trash pickup, storm drain marking, and park planting at various locations. Contact Terry Porter at (678) 297-6200 or to register to volunteer in Alpharetta.

In Roswell, volunteers register at

All volunteers must have the Rivers Alive volunteer waiver form completed and signed before arriving at the event

Following the cookout, at 12:45 p.m., Big Creek on Oxbo Road in Roswell will be the site of the annual Great Duck Race. Hundreds of little plastic ducks will be racing down Big Creek and the “owner” of the first place winner will receive $100; second place winner will receive $50.

To be a part of the race, rent ducks from Keep Roswell Beautiful at the RiversAlive festival at Riverside Park. Ducks are $3 each or three for $5.

Proceeds will be used to help fund Keep Roswell Beautiful projects such as Rivers Alive, Bring One for the Chipper, America Recycles Day and the Earth Balloon.

For more information, please contact Vicki Culbreth at (770) 641-3715 or

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