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Cleaning up the Red

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Red River Cleanup seeks volunteers to pick up litter after historic flood

Looking to have some good clean fun?

The Red River Cleanup is seeking volunteers for the Nov. 7 cleanup day. Volunteers are needed from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Stoner Boat Launch in Shreveport.

Event organizers say more helping hands are needed this year due to the amount of trash washed inland from the historic summer flood.

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“We could use thousands of people,” Adam Willard said. “I’ve been on either the river or the river bed every day for probably three weeks now assessing where we need to go for this cleanup. Our biggest challenge this year is the tributaries that feed into the river.”

Because of the high flood level, water from the river pushed back into the tributaries. Adam said the trash that typically floats (plastic and styrofoam) has been pushed back into the woods.

“There are quite a few plastic grocery bags that are hanging in the trees instead of them normally being on the ground,” Adam said. “We’ve got our hands full.”

The game plan for this year’s cleanup has changed as a result of their assessment findings. Adam said they will need more boats to get people into the areas where the trash has settled.

“There’s trash everywhere,” Adam said. “It’s on both sides of the river and in the woods. It’s a pretty big challenge this year.”

Adam and Lisa Willard are the husband and wife duo who organize the Red River Cleanup. They started this venture in 2010 after a recreational paddle down river revealed a trash problem that seemed to go unnoticed.

Wanting to make a difference, the Red River Cleanup was formed. Adam said he has seen some progress through the years, but there’s still work to be done.

The 2014 cleanup removed a total of 7,480 lbs. of trash from the Red River and surrounding areas. To date, more than 1,280 volunteers have participated in clearing 37,400 pounds of trash from the Red River.

The group’s mission, though, goes beyond cleaning local waterways. They also want to ignite the public’s pride in their community with a fun-filled day of service.

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Volunteers receive a free t-shirt and prizes are awarded for finding the coolest, strangest or most unique trash pulled out of the river. There’s also an eating contest to see who can handle Buffalo Wild Wings’ blazin’ wing challenge.

Prizes vary each year, but Lisa said they will be giving away gift cards, tickets to Sci-Port and much more. New this year will be a hidden immunity idol, in honor of Survivor contestant Keith Nale from Shreveport. Whoever finds the idol will win a prize.

“We try to make it fun for everybody,” Lisa Willard said. “The people who come out and help with the cleanup are like-minded people, ones who care about the community and like to have fun while doing it.”

To participate in the Red River Cleanup, please contact lisa@redrivercleanup.com or visit www.redrivercleanup.com for more information.


Saturday, Nov. 7

8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Stoner Boat Launch in Shreveport

Lunch is provided.

Contact lisa@redrivercleanup.com, visit www.redrivercleanup.com for more info.

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