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.

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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  

https://njclean.org/our-programs/adopt-a-beach/2018-clean-water-challenge.