WINFIELD PARK, NJ – Intrepid volunteers scoured the banks of the Rahway River Saturday morning, doing their part for the environment on Earth Day, 2017.  Young and old alike were motivated by the chance to give back and make a difference.

Youngsters used sticks to uncover bits of toys, Styrofoam and trash in the woods.  Teenagers leaned over the banks to fish water bottles and floating trash out of the water.  One pair unearthed a broken Adirondack chair.  Who knows how it got it there?

“Give them the opportunity to help, and they’ll take it,” mom Anne Marie Kaminski said.  “It’s about giving them opportunities.”

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Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, members of the Arthur L. Johnson High School Key Club and the Rahway High School National Honor Society were among the groups represented at the annual Rahway River Earth Day Clean-Up.

“They’re competing to see who can find the coolest trash,” scout-leader Jennifer McGann said.

Volunteers were dispatched from a parking area near the Bloodgoods Pond Dam.  They were treated to a breakfast of donuts and bagels.  Representatives from Suez were in the process of setting up a hot dog lunch in thanks for those who helped.

A volunteer handed out tree seedlings, giveaways and literature to those who wanted to learn more about environmental efforts in the area.

“It’s nice to give back,” Clark resident Donna Mulvihill said.  She was there with her young daughter Tara.  The Muvihills have been attending the event for 17 years, since their boys were in scouting. “The river is an asset to our community, and we have to keep it nice,” she said.

Betty Kump, a Rahway resident, had taken a little break from collecting, but said her efforts are not limited to one day a year.

“I do clean-up all the time,” Kump said. “I pick up garbage every day in my neighborhood when I walk by dog.  Every day is Earth Day.”

Trash bags lined Parkway Drive as the volunteers’ efforts began to pay off.  Union County will dispatch trucks this week to pick up the accumulated trash.

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