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Volunteers Participate in Nationally Recognized Charles River Cleanup



Madison Wolters
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Communications Coordinator

Charles River Watershed Association’s 20th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup a Success

BOSTON, MA [April 27, 2019] -- In recognition of National Volunteer Week and Earth Month, over 3,000 people volunteered on Saturday, April 27 as part of the 20th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup. In a collaboration led by Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), over 200 groups cooperated to pick up trash and debris and eradicate invasive species in an effort to beautify the Charles River and surrounding parklands.

“We are so appreciative of the thousands of volunteers who came out to spend their morning helping clean up and protect the Charles River and its parklands” said Emily Norton, executive director of CRWA. “It is our hope that someday there is no need for an annual cleanup, when our society has transitioned away from single use plastics and other items that too often end up as litter in our parks and in the river.”

Recognized for three consecutive years by American Rivers' National River Cleanup® for “Most Volunteers Mobilized” and “Most Pounds of Trash Collected,” the Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup provides thousands of volunteers an opportunity to serve as environmental stewards at sites throughout the Charles River watershed.

Volunteers joined thousands of people across Massachusetts who came together for Park Serve Day, MassParks’ annual statewide day of volunteer service. The Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup is a part of American Rivers' National River Cleanup®, which to date, has removed over 25 million pounds of trash from America’s waterways.

“We have groups that have participated for over 10 years as well as people who are participating for the first time. I’ve also seen people come from as far as New Hampshire and Rhode Island to participate,” said Nishaila Porter, program associate and cleanup organizer. “The Charles River Cleanup is a great community engagement event and I hope it ignites a sense of ownership in people to keep the Charles clean all year long.”

During the cleanup volunteers removed litter including plastic bags, bottles, styrofoam, discarded electronics, and other items from parks and rivers in the Charles River Watershed. Following the Cleanup, volunteers celebrated their work with picnics at Waltham and the Esplanade in Boston, the latter of which included speakers Emily Norton of CRWA and Leo Roy, Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

The 20th Charles River Cleanup also moved in a sustainable direction this year, offering as gifts to volunteers aluminum water bottles instead of the tee shirts of the past. The heron design displayed on the water bottles was created by Brig Cala, a student studying at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design focusing on making a career in illustration.  As a Massachusetts local, they value the nature and history that New England offers. They hope to one day create art that serves to inspire the people of today and tomorrow. Portfolio:

A team of local organizations assisted CRWA with the Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup, including the Charles River Conservancy, Massachusetts DCR, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, The Esplanade Association, Senator Will Brownsberger’s Office and the Waltham Land Trust.

Earth Day Charles River Cleanup Sponsors include:

Cleanup Advocates: American Rivers, Boston Water and Sewer Commission, Mix 104.1, Massachusetts Service Alliance, National & Community Service, Pfizer, Zipcar, Eversource

Cleanup Supporters: Amgen, CDM Smith, Eastern Bank, Marriott Boston Newton, Vistaprint Corporate Solutions, Woodward & Curran

Cleanup Friends: Anna’s Taqueria, Athena Health, Boloco, Budget Dumpster, Carolina Harvey, Charles River Bank, Cosi, Gensler, Keep Massachusetts Beautiful, The Kensington, L.L. Bean, Newton Yacht Club, Patrick Engineering, Roche Bros., Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, Tasty Burger, Wegmans, White Corporation



Charles River Watershed Association staff working at the cleanup on the Esplanade

CRWA staff on the Charles River Cleanup Boat

Volunteers captured cleaning up at the Esplanade

Emily Norton, Executive Director of the Charles River Watershed Association, cleaning up at the Esplanade

Speakers at the annual Charles River Cleanup picnic that takes place on fiedler field on the Esplanade. From left to right: Emily Norton-Executive Director of CRWA,Michael Nichols- The Esplanade Association, Leo Roy- Commissioner of DCR, Laura Jasinski- Charles River Conservancy, and Karen Mauney-Brodek- Emerald Necklace Conservancy

Winnie Chen and Family pick up trash at the Duck viewing area in Newton on CRWA’s 20th Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup

Brimmer and May School students participated in the Charles River Cleanup cleaning up by the Norumbega Tower

Boston Marriott Newton Employees participate in the Charles River Cleanup at Norumbega Park

Union of Concerned Scientist volunteers photo by Paulina Morature

Salesforce employees participate in the Charles River Cleanup in Brighton. Cleaning up between Western avenue and North Harvard Street.

WestonThe Savvy Women’s Alliance- Holliston Chapter braved the rain and the cold to cleanup the Weston Pond area for the Charles River Cleanup.'s%20Alliance-%20Holliston%20chapter-%20Weston%20Pond%20(Yellow)-%202019.jpg's%20Alliance-%20Holliston%20chapter-%20Weston%20Pond%20(Yellow)%202-%202019.jpg

Dell Gen-Next Employee Resource group cleans up the upper Charles Trail for the Charles River Cleanup.

For more information about the Annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup, please visit


Charles River Watershed Association uses science, advocacy, urban design and education to promote resilient communities and a healthy river ecosystem. CRWA was formed in 1965 in response to public concern about the declining condition of the Charles River. Since its earliest days of advocacy, CRWA has figured prominently in major clean-up and watershed protection efforts that have dramatically improved the health of the Charles.

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