Nearly three dozen volunteers turned out on Saturday, March 14 to clean up in the outfall ravine leading from the Country Village neighborhood to the Connetquot River. They removed nearly 80 contractor bags of debris from the area; debris that would’ve otherwise made its way to the Great South Bay.

This was one of the more remote clean ups we have completed and our volunteers bravely battled the already emerging bramble bushes in order to gather single piece of trash. Thank you Sofia, Carly, Elizabeth, Cameron, Andrea, Patty, Karen, Eric, Elaine, Dan, Joe, Bob, Ray,  Joann, Anthony, John, Isabella, Arabella, Rebecca, Andrei, Gustavo, James, Todd, Richard, Anna, Lenny, Robyn, Janet, Brad, Bill & more for helping us kick off the Creek Defender 2021 program. This was our first clean up of the season and was held in collaboration with Keep Islip Clean, a community service organization dedicated to a cleaner, prouder Islip Township.

View the full photo gallery here.

Hundreds of plastic bottles and cans, lawn furniture and car parts were all removed with piles of garbage bags lining the Heckscher State Parkway awaiting pick up by the State Parks. Most unique item found at this clean up: An aged, but otherwise pristine, United States Marine Corps flag, taken home by one of our younger volunteers for a good washing before being hung once again with the pride and respect it deserves. Volunteers were fascinated by some animal skulls, most likely deer, that were found along the way too! Now this is a true nature encounter.

A big thank you to Creek Defender Chairman and Board President Todd Shaw for coming down, and to Janet Marie Soley, who has volunteered to organize the debris data collection portion at all of our upcoming events in collaboration with the Ocean Conservancy. Collecting data on what we pick up is important for use in policy making on concerns such as the Plastic Bag Ban or the Plastic Straw Ban. We were joined by Sayville Creek Defender, James Bertsch; President of the Great River Civic Association, JoAnn Kukenis; and District 10 Suffolk Legislator Tom Cilmi who all came out to support the clean up. 

Bill Raftery, a dedicated KIC volunteer, paraphrased Winston Churchill in saying “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist see opportunity in every difficulty.” This certainly was a difficult clean up that was turned into an amazing community service opportunity by several local students.

We invite you to join us at an upcoming Creek Defender Clean Up being held across the South Shore over the next six weeks include Massapequa 03/20,  Bay Shore 03/27, Lindy/West Babylon 04/03, Amityville 04/10, West Islip 04/10, Babylon 04/17, Blue Point 04/18, Bellport 04/24, Patchogue 04/25 & Paddleboard Sundays! Volunteer for any one of them at www.savethegreatsouthbay.org/volunteer.