The 7th annual Rock River cleanup event took place on Sept. 10 in the Rockton area.

The morning started out with a steady rain, but soon it tapered off to a fine mist, and later on the precipitation stopped altogether, and the volunteers actually had some sun. Then it got breezy. All in all, our record of “pretty good weather” stayed intact. Nothing could stop the intrepid volunteers!

People got wet and muddy. It was all part of the fun experience of working together to clean up our river.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. the group assembled at the shelterhouse behind First National Bank & Trust in Rockton. Eventually  a total of 44 volunteers turned out to help, including seven of the original 11 who started this adventure in

  1. From Maria Montessori School in Rockford we had a group of 16 students and teachers. Several others from Rockford and a faithful contingent from the Quad-City area were complemented by Rockton and Roscoe residents.

The group collected around 3,000 lbs. of refuse from the 10-mile stretch of the Rock River, including 25 old tires, lawn and patio chairs, fishing gear, a large carpet, yard waste bag, an 8-foot square fabric canopy on aluminum frame, two plastic tanks, steel pipe and framework, the usual styrofoam waste, drink bottles and cans, and a dirty waterlogged Cabbage Patch doll with plant life growing out of his hair. They named this eerie creature “Chuckie” and adopted him as the mascot.

One of the students found a walking-stick insect who will become a classroom pet for awhile. Fish were observed but not a lot of bird life due to the inclement weather.

As usual about 20 local businesses supported the effort with generous door prizes and food at deeply discounted prices. Thank you, Mark’s Pizza! And a new helper this year was Chemtool Incorporated which paid for 32 Rock River

Sweep t-shirts. Loren Floto and Tricia Nelson once again coordinated the event.

Around noon the volunteers gathered to enjoy pizza, watermelon and door prizes with recorded jazz music in the background.

“Bottom line, it was another successful day coming together as a community to have a little fun and care for our environment,” Floto said. “Our river is a lot cleaner now.”

“Between now and next September, we urge everyone to pick up after people who discard their trash carelessly. And watch for the announcement of our next Rock River Sweep. Thank you.”

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