BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - On Sunday, March 24, residents of all ages gathered at Snyder Avenue Park, put on pairs of reinforced gloves, and helped rid Berkeley Heights of approximately 150 pounds of litter through their participation in the Adopt-A-Beach Clean Water Challenge.
The group consisted of approximately 25 children and adults of all ages, including couples and families. One family even brought their dog, Coco, to make the event truly a family effort.
The event, which was a collaborative effort among Val's Valiants, the Berkeley Heights Innovation and Sustainability Alliance (Sustainable Berkeley Heights), the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission (BHEC), and the Berkeley Heights Downtown Beautification Committee (DBC), aimed to kick off spring and the spring sports season by ridding Snyder Avenue and Snyder Avenue Park of recyclables and trash that had been hibernating under the snow and leaves all winter.
Half the group tackled the wooded area behind the turf field at the park itself, while the other half cleaned both sides of Snyder Avenue between the park and the Bank of America Building, as well as the area along the bank of the Passaic River tributary near the bridge next to the Bank of America parking lot.
Visually, the amount of litter in certain places was shocking. According to Chloe Moon, one of the youngest participants, "It's weird 'cause there's so much paper everywhere."
"Weird" is a good way to describe all of the unusual items found. In addition to finding numerous baby wipes, plastic make-up containers, mylar balloons, and a can of silly string, the group also found a kitchen sink that had been discarded in the waterway.
Many other more commonplace items were gathered as well, including 197 plastic beverage bottles, 168 metal beverage cans, 119 candy wrappers and chip bags, and 130 cigarette butts.
Valerie Diamond, the leader of Val's Valiants, and Councilwoman Jeanne Kingsley weighed each of the many bags of litter the group amassed. Altogether, residents collected a total of 138.3 pounds of litter - consisting of 44.0 pounds of recyclables and 94.3 pounds of trash.
There will be another Adopt-A-Beach clean up on April 7 from 2 - 4 p.m. along Watchung Way, between Horseshoe Road and the long driveway leading up to Runnells. If you'd like to help make Berkeley Heights cleaner and greener, Val's Valiants, Sustainable Berkeley Heights, the BHEC, and the DBC invite you to attend. Just bring yourself, and wear jeans and appropriate footwear - gloves and bags will be provided.
For additional information about the Adopt-A-Beach Clean Water Challenge, please visit the New Jersey Clean Communities Council's website at