Boy Scouts Clean up the Allegheny River

Nick Altland, Staff Writer

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The Allegheny was once a trash-filled river that was toxic to swim in, but thanks in part to organizations, like the Allegheny River and Watershed Clean-Up, the river had made a comeback. Boy Scouts and Venturing Crew members from Troop 228 participated in the 8th Annual Allegheny River Clean-Up held from September 16 to September 18 in Warren County, PA. Every September after Labor Day, the Annual Allegheny River Cleanup takes place for five days. Each day is designated to a section of the river from Conewango to Buckaloons.

The mission is to remove garbage along and in the Allegheny River to ensure that no trash has been left behind through the winter months. This “extreme cleaning event” is right down the alley of the Boy Scout Troop 228, the Thunderbirds, from the South Hills area of Pittsburgh.

Caleb Shook, a sophomore at Upper St. Clair High School, feels that the troop’s involvement for three years is making an impact. He said,” Overall there has been a lot of an impact on the organization, and hopefully our troops three years of involvement have been helpful as well.”

There are many weird things you find while paddling down the river looking for trash. Among those things are bottles, old toys, chairs. Jude said,” we found a five-hour energy drink and bottles of beer still full.”

Next, we talked to Bill Rooney, an adult leader in the troop, about the importance of community service. He said, “Community service is important to boy scouts because it gives these boys a chance to show a good example to the rest of the community, and I think our community needs better examples…”

Finally, we talked to Wes Ramsey about what the Allegheny River cleanup is. He said, “It’s a group of people that all band together to go out and spend a whole week on the water, floating down the river or walking along the banks picking up trash.”

According to their website, since 2008, more than 2,900 volunteers have donated almost 24,000 hours and have removed almost 450 cubic yards of trash from the watershed. They have pulled out television sets; microwave ovens; lawn chairs; refrigerators; 55-gallon drums; more than 1,600 tires and have filled many bags of recyclable metal, glass, plastic, and aluminum.

The event was capped off in the evening by a wrap-up Party at Pellegrino’s Italian Market. The gathering featured music, food and refreshments and the “Trashy Awards” presentation. Winners of the Most Treasured Trash Awards this year were: …The Thunderbirds!

Once again, Troop and Crew 228 had a blast and are looking forward to coming back next year!

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