Community members will come together this weekend to clean trash out of the West Branch of the Housatonic River. On Saturday, Aug 17, volunteers will set out from behind 703 West Housatonic St. in Pittsfield at 9 a.m. to collect trash from alongside and in the river. “Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome,” says Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) Education and Outreach Coordinator Elizabeth Orenstein. The event is organized by BEAT and the Housatonic Valley Association. “The morning ends with a celebratory lunch for volunteers where we all swap stories of the most notorious item pulled from the river,” Orenstein said.

At past cleanups, BEAT and HVA have pulled shopping carts, bicycles, tires, beds, toilets, and even an ATM from the river. Each year the river has a little bit less trash - the cleanups are making a difference.

Everyone is invited! Kids accompanied by a parent or guardian are most welcome. If you have waders, hip boots, or boots, please bring them but there will also be a few pairs to borrow. Bring a refillable water bottle, sun screen, and bug repellant. BEAT will provide work gloves and bags, and a few pairs of grabbers. Some groups will paddle in canoes and some will walk along the banks and/or wade into the river.

Housatonic River Cleanups are only possible through the generous support of sponsors. Lead sponsor BlueQ is joined by the City of Pittsfield (who hauls away the trash pulled from the river), Annie Selke, Alnasco, and American Rivers.

For more information, visit thebeatnews.org, call (413) 230-7321, or email elizabeth@thebeatnews.org.

(We received press release information from the Berkshire Environmental Action Team for online and on-air use)