Hitchcock Creek is a natural resource many in Richmond County value and protect. Last Saturday, 48 Perdue associates and their family members pulled more than 1,000 pounds of trash out of Hitchcock Creek in a volunteer effort.
“One of the guys had a scale you use to weigh fish and things like that and we just hooked each bag for the weight and totaled them,” said Environmental Manager of the Rockingham Complex Lee Butler. “We collected 50 bags of trash, along with discarded mattresses, tires, plastic and glass bottles and paper. We also moved and stacked several tree limbs.”
Project Clean Stream was launched in 2004 by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland as a grass-roots effort to clean up waterways and shorelines in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Perdue joined the volunteer project in 2008 with 30 volunteers. Last year, 450 associates, family members and community members joined forces to remove more than 18,000 pounds of debris from sites across the Delmarva Peninsula, which encompasses parts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia
In 2011, Perdue expanded the Project Clean Stream concept across the company to encourage associates to organize similar clean-up efforts in their communities.
“This gave us an opportunity to do something good for the community,” said Perdue Rockingham Purchasing Agent Torina Ingram. “And it helped the environment at the same time.”
“We believe maintaining a solid corporate partnership and focus on environmental integrity with those communities is fundamental,” said Butler. “Perdue is dedicated to the communities in which they operate.”
You may wonder how long it takes that amount of garbage to accumulate, but it can depend on the location.
“Some of the trash had been in the area for long time and some of that had been where people had dumped trash out,” said Butler. “Probably two-thirds of it was just debris people had thrown on the ground or was there from storms. The tree limbs were left after trees had been cut down, probably from clearing the area for improvements.”
Project Clean Stream originally included the Midway area, but after recent rains left the riverbank soft, the safety of associates’ children came first, and they changed their plans.
“We only cleaned the Hitchcock Creek area and at the end, Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump stopped by and addressed the group, thanking everyone for choosing that site for the project, their participation and the job they did.”
“It was really impressive to see the crowd of associates that had gathered and brought their families, their children,” said Crump. ” It’s a really good example for the kids to be out there with their parents, so they know this is here for their future. They did a great job.”
Crump was pleased but knows there is much more trash out there along the creek. The real clean up has only just begun.
“That’s indicative of the homegrown effort it will take to keep the area clean as Hitchcock Creek opens to public access and people start going fishing and taking their canoes,” said Crump. “It’s an on-going problem everywhere. Now, if people would just learn to throw their trash in the trash can where it belongs.”
Project Clean Stream is expected to become a yearly event that will be organized for early next year at another location in the county, according to Butler.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ex. 43, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.