Sweeping Out the Trash

Trash piled up on a rocky bank at the edge of shallow water. Pieces of trash and rusty metal sitting on the front of a bright green kayak. Large horizontal tree limb over water. Two women paddling a green, white, and blue kayak in front of an old wooden building on top of a grassy bank at the edge of water. A smiling young woman wearing a colorful top stands in shallow water holding a rubber tire. Full black trash bags gathered in a large metal container. Three women paddling two kayaks in dark brown water. Ground covered in trash, cloth, and bricks. A smiling woman paddling a red kayak looks back at the camera. Bright green kayak holding trash at the edge of water. An old wooden dock that has fallen onto a sandy bank at the edge of the water. View from a green kayak of the back of two women paddling a kayak.
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2020 Pearl River Clean Sweep removes thousands of pounds of trash

Photo essay by Jessi James and Pearl Riverkeeper Volunteers

Since it began 4 years ago, the Pearl River Clean Sweep has removed more than 135,000 pounds of trash from the Pearl River Basin, including the Pearl, Strong, and Bogue Chitto Rivers across 15 Mississippi counties and two Louisiana parishes.

The Clean Sweep offers an opportunity for volunteers to participate in a coordinated effort organized by like-minded leaders. Many people affiliated with the Mississippi State University Extension Service participated in the 2020 cleanup, and lead organizer Abby Braman is an Extension-certified Master Naturalist volunteer.

Master Naturalists, community volunteers who promote conservation and management of natural resources, played an important role in the 2020 Clean Sweep, including site leader Claire Graves and volunteers Foch Dickens, Beverly Keaton, Laura Lillard, Robert McAdory, Billy Mitchell, and Jennifer Sigrest.

Extension personnel from the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi also participated, including Jessi James, Extension associate; Dr. Adam Rohnke, Extension specialist; and Dr. Eric Sparks, assistant Extension professor and director of the Coastal and Marine Extension Program.

At the 2020 Clean Sweep, 473 volunteers removed 27,819 pounds of trash, making almost 500 miles of a Mississippi waterway cleaner and healthier for people, wildlife, and plants.

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