Volunteers clean up greenway for Bear Creek Stewardship Day

MEDFORD, Ore.- Saturday is Bear Creek Stewardship Day, so volunteers were invited to help clean up the greenway.

The Bear Creek Greenway clean-up started at 9 a.m. and lasted until noon, with nine check-in stations from Ashland to Central Point. Brooke Amposta, one of the event coordinators from Jackson County Parks, says this event isn’t just about picking up garbage.

“We try to do clean ups from Ashland to Central Point twice a year to not only do trash pick-up, but we also have removal of invasive species, plantings, we put down mulch,” Amposta said.

Amposta says typically, the volunteers collect between 4,000 to 7,000 pounds of trash by the end of the clean-up. She says this year, the weight might be less, but that doesn’t affect the impact.

“People have been focusing on a lot of micro trash rather than big trash,” Amposta said, “Micro trash is equally important because the small things can get into the creek and fish think that’s food and can end up eating it.”

Amposta says while the goal of these clean-ups is to improve the environment, it’s also to get people down to the Greenway. She says she’s happy to see the Spring turnout.

“Our early registration numbers that preregistered was approximately 200,” Amposta said, “which is a record of early registrations for us.”

Kurt Hildebrand is one of the volunteers during the clean-up. He says this was his first time volunteering after he heard about the opportunity from a friend.

“I’ve been thinking about this, you know, cleaning up Bear Creek lately,” Hildebrand said, “All of the sudden, an opportunity just kind of fell in my lap and so I jumped on it.”

Hildebrand says he walks through the greenway pretty often. He says his walks inspired him to come volunteer and he hopes people will start to value it more.

“It should be more appreciated and beautiful,” Hildebrand said. ” It should be a feature of this city. And, in order to make it that, I think we need to keep it cleaner.”

Amposta agrees with Hildebrand’s feelings towards the greenway. She’s glad this clean-up gave people the opportunity to check it out more.

“I love, personally, seeing all the small kids and families getting back out here,” Amposta said, “It’s a great sign to see them out, enjoying the greenway again.”

Amposta says she has a lot of gratitude for those who volunteered and the event’s sponsors, including Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism aka SOLVE for providing some cleaning supplies.

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NBC5 News Reporter Lauren Pretto grew up in Livermore, California and attended University of California, Santa Cruz, graduating with a double major in Film/Digital Media and Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. Lauren is a lover of books, especially Agatha Christie and Gothic novels. When her nose isn't buried in a book, she knits, bakes, and writes.
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