Adams Bayou Trash-Off Saturday
Adam’s Bayou flows through Orange, West Orange and Pinehurst and its banks are lined with trees, grasses and wildflowers. Great white egrets, blue herons and pine roseate spoonbills roost in the trees. But floating beer cans, discarded car tires and wrappers from fast-food tacos add unwanted color.
On Saturday, volunteers will once again clean hundreds of pounds of garbage out of the bayou during the 13th annual Adam’s Bayou Trash-Off. The event was originally organized by Michael Hoke, a science teacher for the West Orange-Cove school district who established the original Nature Classroom. Now, Hoke is executive director of the Stark Foundation’s Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, and Shangri La is sponsoring the event.
This year, the clean-up is as important as ever. Visitors to Greater Orange will be riding on electric pontoon boats along the bayou when Shangri La opens to the public on March 11. Litter can spoil the view.
Kristin Hamerly, environmental educator intern at Shangri La, is coordinating the Trash-Off this year. She expects about 300 volunteers to participate, rain or shine. Through the years, merchants have donated trash picker-uppers, work gloves and trash bags. All volunteers need to do is attend, though old clothes and old shoes or boots are recommended.
Volunteers should come to Lions Park on Main Street about 7:45 a.m. Saturday. The park doesn’t have a boat launch, but volunteers with small motorized boats may come to the banks at the park to help volunteers get to sites along the bayou. Also, canoes and pirogues can be put into the water at the park.
Groups and individuals may register for the event by contacting Hamerly at 670-9113. Registration, though, is not required and volunteers may simply come to the event.
The Trash-Off extends from the bayou out into the streets and ditches of the three cities. Hamerly said they try to reach the areas where heavy rains wash the litter into the bayou.
The first week in February is the traditional date for the event. Hamerly said the winter time is good because the north winds have usually blown some of the water out of the bayou, leaving more of the shore accessible to pick up trash. Also, vegetation has died back, letting more litter be seen. And another plus is that the snakes are in hibernation.
The Trash-Off will last until noon, and volunteers will be treated to a pizza lunch and soft drinks. Local merchants also donate prizes for the volunteers.