The trash lay snarled among branches washed up by last month’s heavy rains. Bit by bit, volunteers from the Charles River School in Dover picked up old Styrofoam coffee cups, fishing bobs, plastic wrappers.
Even men’s combs and a castoff cocoanut found their way into the trash bags.
“It’s really gross out there,” said Tara Zadeh of Westwood, a parent volunteer who helped organize the group for the annual cleanup sponsored by the Charles River Watershed Association.
The school group found itself not along the shores of the Charles, but along a small stretch of Lake Cochituate, at Pegan Cove Park off Washington Avenue in Natick.
“We organize this [cleanup] every year, but this is the first time we’ve been here,” said Zadeh.
About 25-30 parents and students spent the bulk of last Saturday morning dredging debris from the lakeshore; before they finished, they gathered some old couches and at least six trash bags full of junk.
Just across the railroad tracks, a group from Jewish Family Workshop tidied up the Middlesex Path trail and along the shores of Fisk Pond.
Along the Charles itself, volunteers raked leaves and picked up trash around the South Natick Dam.
“It’s fine, I enjoy it. It gets easier every year,” said Richard Morris, a third-year volunteer and 23-year resident of South Natick. “When we moved here, it was much more overgrown. It’s really worth keeping up … this is the heart of South Natick.”
At the start of the cleanup, cars outnumbered volunteers by a wide margin; the annual Little League parade was being held at the Hunnewell Fields nearby. Once that event was done, several participants picked up rakes and joined the cleanup.
“The kids are definitely encouraged,” said Candy Hulton of Natick, who’s been organizing this part of the cleanup for six years.
Locally, other cleanup spots included Rocky Narrows in Sherborn, as well as the Farm Road/Bridge Street area.
Overall, more than 3,000 volunteers took part in the cleanup, from Boston to Bellingham. For information about the cleanup, as well as other events, visit www.crwa.org or call 781-788-0007.