The 120 volunteers of Operation North Branch: Restore the Susquehanna worked tirelessly over a two-day period (June 29-30, 2012) using kayaks, canoes and motor boats to scour the shorelines and islands of the Susquehanna River for the 26-miles from Laceyville, PA to Tunkhannock, PA. The debris collected was the result of the 2011 flooding of the river after September's Tropical Storm Lee and then followed by Hurricane Irene.
Over the two-day event volunteers removed 3.96 tons of trash including Styrofoam, paint cans, turpentine, and children's toys; 2.15 tons of scrap metal including steel gas containers, hot water tanks, oil tanks, refrigerators, sinks and sheet metal siding; and 159 tires (1.5 tons) including car tires and heavy tractor tires.
The clean-up resulted in the collection of 15,220 pounds of trash, debris and hazardous materials. "So much debris conquered by so much volunteer spirit. It's our love for the Susquehanna River that made Operation North Branch such a remarkable success," said Diane Secor, President of Volunteer Strong.
Thank you to all the volunteers who united without flinching for the Susquehanna River and to the organizers of Operation North Branch: North Branch Land Trust, Endless Mountains Heritage Region, PA Environmental Council, North Branch Water Trail, Wyoming County Conservation District, and Paddle Without Pollution, a non-profit from Pittsburgh, PA.
"This proved to be a tremendous opportunity for all of us to unite around an obvious problem and invest our collective energies into a practical solution. This private-public partnership is amazing and the efforts of the volunteers are inspiring," said Phil Swank of Endless Mountains Heritage Region.
Operation North Branch: Restore the Susquehanna was chosen by Volunteer Strong as a Community Volunteer Project. In addition to working as one of the land crew hauling debris unloaded from the boats at the river's edge to the dumpsters on shore, a Volunteer Strong member also snapped 100 photos in order to create a visual history of the event.
Photos were then uploaded to Operation North Branch Photos to provide easy and free access to individuals wanting to include the photos in newspaper articles, web sites, organizational reports and planning for the 2013 river clean-up event. The photos were also used by WNEP Channel 16, a local Scranton, PA television station who aired a story about the volunteer project on its PA Outdoor Life segment. The video of the segment can be watched here .
Read about the rescue of the Survivor Flag found in a pile of debris by Volunteer Strong President, Diane Secor.
Spirit of Volunteer Strong Photo Gallery
Click on each photo to read about the volunteers and nonprofit organizations who are the Spirit of Volunteer Strong. (more photos)
View the entire Spirit of Volunteer Strong Photo Gallery