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2011 Trash PickupAbout 50 volunteers participated in the October 2011 Trash Pick Up, starting in two locations and spreading out over 1 ˝ miles of the Laguna channel, as before. This time, we collected about 100 gallons of trash – carefully divided into actual garbage, recycling, redeemable glass and plastic bottles, and cans. Many thanks to all those who participated, to Teresa Lopez (Community Organizer of St. Joseph’s Health System – Sonoma County Health Communities) – and to members of C-CORP (Concerned Citizens of Rohnert Park) for their successful outreach efforts in the local neighborhood. Thanks also to recycling experts Melissa Bushway, and Patrick Carter of Sonoma County Waste Management Agency, to Shaun Horne of Sonoma County Water Agency, and to Southern Sonoma County Resource Conservation District for again lending us extra gloves and trash grabbers. And thanks to SSU’s community service group JUMP, and our interns from SSU and SRJC for helping to make this day a success!

Looking for trash in the creekThe big question now is where all this trash comes from, and what can be done about it? We think we have now cleaned up most of the “legacy trash” that had been accumulating for many years. Most of what we found was near the storm drain exits – graphic evidence that what we’re finding now has been washed into storm drain system from streets, parking lots, yards etc. We also found copious amounts of dog poop. Why don’t more dog owners take responsibility for cleaning up after their dogs? – it’s disgusting and dangerous. Trash not only looks ugly, it’s dangerous for wildlife, pollutes the waterways, and damages not only our local creeks but also adds to the islands of plastic trash accumulating in the Pacific Ocean (for more information see http://www.algalita.org/index.php) What can be done to reduce the use of items that become trash in the first place – plastic bags, plastic bottles, throwaway items, unecessary and excess packaging?

Aluminum Cans   Picking up trash   Trash   Trash   Looking for trash   Bottles

Click image to enlarge

CCC’s Trash Pick Up event on April 9, 2011 was a tremendous success and we broke all previous records, because over 100 volunteers participated, over 50 at each of two separate locations simultaneously!  Together we rescued approximately 500 gals. of trash and recyclables out of about 1 ½ miles of the Laguna channel in Cotati and part of Rohnert Park (from Liman Way to Commerce Blvd.) before it could get washed downstream into the rest of the Laguna de Santa Rosa, the Russian River, and the Pacific Ocean.  Good job everyone and THANK YOU!

Trash pickup team
SSU fraternity Phi Delta Zeta and other volunteers at Falletti Park, April 9, 2011

This was a collaborative event supported by the City of Cotati (thank you, Mayor Janet Orchard for your participation on the day!), Sonoma County Water Agency (thank you, Keenan Foster), Sonoma County Waste Management Agency (thanks to Patrick Carter), St. Joseph’s Health System (thank you, Teresa Lopez), C-CORP (Concerned Citizens of Rohnert Park, thanks to Wendy Horton).   Very special thanks to SSU fraternity Phi Delta Zeta who alone brought out an impressive 40+ volunteers, SSU’s JUMP group, sorority Lambda Sigma Gamma, and fraternity Sigma Lambda Beta, and to our SSU interns Danielle, Colleen, Chris, James, and Eric, as well as to many other individual volunteers, friends and neighbors whose help and support was invaluable (you know who you are!)

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Updated 2013 by Lucy Kenyon