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Laurene Weste: Register today for 19th River Rally Cleanup

Posted: September 13, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 13, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

We all know Santa Clarita is a great place to live, but what makes it special is different for everyone.

For me, I love our abundant open spaces. I appreciate the beauty of the Santa Clara River that runs alongside the South Fork Trail. And I am thankful to live and serve in a community that works hard to preserve its natural amenities.

Next week, the city of Santa Clarita and thousands of community volunteers will come together to help preserve and protect the Santa Clarita River — one of the last natural river systems in Southern California.

The 19th annual River Rally Clean-Up and Environmental Expo will take place on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Volunteers will meet at the Newhall Community Center, located at 22421 Market Street, to help remove trash from Newhall Creek, which is a tributary of the river running straight through the heart of Santa Clarita and from Acton to the Pacific Ocean.

If you have been looking for a way to volunteer, this is a great opportunity that involves a small time commitment but yields big results.

Many local youth, church groups, families, schools, and Girl and Boy Scout troops have volunteered their time through the years, and we are so thankful for their participation.

Every year that we’ve hosted the event, it has grown immensely, which is whylast year we began asking volunteers to register online prior to the event. 

This helps us get people out cleaning and volunteering faster that morning, rather than standing in lines completing paperwork.

If you are planning to join our event next week, please take a moment today to visit www.GreenSantaClarita.com and register, or call (661) 284-1415.

Volunteers of all ages are welcome, and service hours will be signed for those volunteers with the appropriate forms.

In addition to the River Rally Clean-up, an Environmental Expo will be held to share information about the different ways volunteers can help protect and preserve the environment.

Attendees can gather information about recycling, air quality, pollution prevention, water quality, open space preservation and wildlife conservation programs in Santa Clarita. 

It is important for our community to join together to help preserve the well-being of the Santa Clara River to ensure protection for endangered species and a high quality of life for current and future generations.

Despite its usually dry appearance, the Santa Clara River is a vibrant natural resource, featuring 57 archeological sites and 12 historic landmarks, in addition to providing a habitat for 14 species of birds and six species of plants listed as endangered or of special concern.

The Santa Clarita River also provides and protects a portion of our community’s water supply. For these reasons and more, River Rally is an important event in Santa Clarita and has been since 1994.

In the last 19 years, River Rally alone has resulted in the removal of more than 377,000 pounds of trash and debris from the river and its tributaries.

River Rally Clean-up is a fun project, but things can get messy. Participating volunteers must wear sturdy closed-toe shoes, appropriate clothing for walking in the riverbed, and plenty of sunscreen.

Gloves, collection bags and refreshments will be provided to participants, and the first 1,400 volunteers will receive a commemorative giveaway. 

And while we love our pets in Santa Clarita, they are not permitted on site during the event.

Volunteers are the heart of River Rally, and I want to give a big thank you in advance to all of those who have already registered to help next Saturday. 

If you haven’t yet registered, I hope you will do so today and join us as we work together for a better Santa Clarita.

For more information on River Rally, call the event hotline at 661-284-1415, or to complete the required pre-registration forms, visit www.GreenSantaClarita.com.

See you at the River Rally!

Laurene Weste is Santa Clarita’s Mayor Pro tem and can be reached at: lweste@santa-clarita.com.

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