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The annual Great L.A. River Clean Up returns for Earth Month

The 29th annual cleanup will take place on the next three Saturdays in April.

Sarah Vehrs, Assistant News Editor

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The concrete walls that protect Los Angeles county from massive flooding will receive its 29th annual “great river cleanup” by restorative organization, Friends of the L.A. River.

The United States’ largest urban river cleanup project will occur on the last three Saturdays of Earth Month at nine locations from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will be offered refreshments, snacks and sunblock at the sites along the 51-mile river.

“I think on a very real level, what the cleanup project allows is for members of the community to get a hands-on experience of the L.A. River,” said Michael Atkins, communications and impact manager of FoLAR. “It allows them to confront the human impact that has been degrading the ecosystem, and it also lets them experience a piece of the restoration project.”

The upper portion of the concrete river will be cleaned April 14 at Sepulveda Basin, the Balboa Sports Complex and Glendale Narrows Riverwalk.

The middle of the river will be cleaned April 21 at Los Feliz Boulevard, Bond Park, Fletcher Drive, Bowtie Parcel, Marsh Park and the Frog Spot.

The lower part of the river will be cleaned April 28 at Compton Creek, Del Amo Metro Station, Golden Shore Marine Reserve and Willow Street Estuary.

Volunteers will receive a reusable tote bag, a custom-designed FoLAR T-shirt, a KIND snack bar and a gift card from Rubio’s Coastal Grill.

Britny Coker-Moen, a senior environmental science and public relations student at Cal State Long Beach, signed up to participate in the Willow Street Estuary site. This portion of the event is one of the locations near Long Beach. Coker-Moen feels like this massive project is necessary to get people interested in participating.

“I wholeheartedly support FoLAR’s mission in restoring the ecology of the L.A. river and breaking the concrete,” Coker-Moen said. “I don’t want an ugly concrete city-gorge; I want a river that looks and is natural, and I’m excited to be contributing to FoLAR’s cause.”

According to the non-profit organization, the event’s participation has exploded in recent years. Last year’s project attracted 10,000 volunteers who removed over 100 tons of trash from the river.

FoLAR is also collaborating with with Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority to increase the “safety and awareness toward cleaning the River and respecting homeless population in the riverbed.”

“When you see so many people on the River working together in their FoLAR shirts, it warms your heart,” said Marissa Christansen, executive director of FoLAR in a press release. “I am so inspired when I think about countless members of the river community pouring their love into our river over the last 29 years.”

Volunteers can pick a location and register www.folar.org/cleanup-2018.


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