MARCH 20– For the second year in a row volunteers gathered at Pickwick Lake as part of efforts by Keep Tennessee Beautiful and TVA to collect debris from local waterways.
“We collected 5,700 pounds of litter this year as part of the ‘Keep Tennessee River Beautiful’ campaign,” said Randy Etheridge, Hardin County Solid Waste Department director. “Last year we collected 3,800 pounds.”
With 50 helpers on March 11, more than double from last year, the clean-up was done around the lake in a few hours.
The event kicked off at Aqua Harbor Grille with a meal provided for everyone.
Missy Marshall, executive director of Keep Tennessee Beautiful, spoke to the crowd.
“A lot of roadway litter ends up in our waterways. This is a great day to work together to get our waterways clean,” said Marshall. “The month of March is ‘Keep Tennessee Beautiful Month.’ By getting the river clean, it helps keep America beautiful.”
Project Coordinator Laura Howard told volunteers they were “rock stars” because of their efforts to make a difference in their community. Tennessee Valley Authority Senior Manager James Adams said that “even a candy wrapper falling from a boat is worth the effort to go back and pick up.”
After a boat safety talk by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer Stephen Graves, where everyone was admonished to wear life jackets all day, the crowd was prepared to clean up waterfalls and other beautiful spots around the lake.
Environmentalist Chad Pregracke, aka “The River Rescuer,” along with his wife Tammy, were there to spearhead the group’s clean-up efforts.
“It’s a service to our country to clean up litter,” said Pregracke, who has received numerous awards and national recognition for his environmental work.
According to Pregracke, “Living Lands and Waters,” the organization Pregracke founded, has cleaned more than 10 million pounds of debris from the shoreline of rivers across our nation.
Pickwick Lake is enjoyed by more and more boaters and swimmers each year. Taking a few extra minutes to keep trash from blowing into the water is worth the effort to keep the recreational treasure beautiful for years to come.