Getting Dirty to Get Clean!

Fia Turczynewycz
Sep 15, 2019
Tires. Refrigerators. Trash cans. Multiple pairs of shoes. Parts of dolls and action figures. Countless pieces of plastic and styrofoam. Santa Claus lawn ornaments. These are just a few of the items found along the Little Miami and Ohio River during the many cleanups I participated in with the Little Miami Conservancy, Living Lands & Waters, and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in late July, mid August, and early September.

For the first Little Miami River Cleanup, myself along with 9 other staff from the Cincinnati Zoo, hopped into 5 canoes and paddled 4 miles down the Little Miami - stopping along the way on gravel shores, sandy islands, and steep banks to pick up discarded trash that had floated along from upstream, slipped in from heavy rains, or was casually tossed into the river. Some items were lightly floating on top of the sandy banks, or waving in the wind from a tree branch. For the second Little Miami River Cleanup, myself along with 50 other staff and their families from the Cincinnati Zoo as well as their construction partner, Pepper Construction, hopped in canoes and covered more than 9 miles of the river, collecting over 2,000 pounds of trash!

The Little Miami River runs southwesterly for more than 100 miles starting in Clark County, traveling through 5 different counties before reaching the Ohio River. It is home to over 87 species of fish, 36 species of mussels, and many birds. It became Ohio’s first designated State Scenic River in April 1969, and is truly a remarkable piece of natural and Ohio history. The Little Miami River Valley is abundant with flora and fauna, and anything we can do to help protect it will support the natural resources and wildlife living there.

Dedicated to saving a national treasure since 1967, the Little Miami Conservancy (LMC) is a small but mighty organization that has devoted its entire mission to the restoration and protection of the Little Miami National Wild & Scenic River. Since its humble beginnings, LMC has acquired 110 nature preserves along the Little Miami River, preserving over 12% of the Little Miami’s riverfront forest. Through tree plantings, river cleanup floats, prairie plantings, and nature programs, LMC is spreading the love and awareness of this beautiful habitat and all who benefit from it.

Living Lands & Waters (LL&W) was founded in 1998 and has become the only “industrial strength” river cleanup organization like it in the world. LL&W’s goal is to aid in the protection, preservation and restoration of the natural environment of our nations’ major rivers and their watersheds. At the same time, LL&W is increasing awareness of environmental issues surrounding the river and creating the desire and opportunity within communities to be stewards of the river. To date, LL&W has worked on 24 rivers in 21 states, and with the help of over 110,000 volunteers removed 10.3 million pounds of trash from U.S. rivers, including our own Ohio River. A small but mighty team from the Zoo’s Facilities Department collected 600-800 pounds of trash in just a couple of hours on the shores of the Ohio River in Rabbit Hash, KY.

Sharing in the spreading of love and awareness for protecting habitats and promoting environmental stewardship, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden started their Lion’s Share Community Service Program - where corporations or families can join scheduled events that support conservation action and make an impact on our local wildlife and wild places. From bat box building to invasive species removal to milkweed seed propagation and so much more, these community service events connect us to real, concrete ways we can make a difference.

The staff at Guide Us Green understand how important it is for us to also be involved with sustainable issues and events, and participate as often as we can in ways that will support conservation action and environmental stewardship. We aren’t just talking about others doing it, we are doing it ourselves as well. I’ve been passionate about protecting our planet since I was a little girl, and am fortunate that my career is a constant dedication towards just that. Join the community and be connected to businesses, organizations, spaces, and places that promote sustainable and healthy living for you and the planet!



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