For Logan Martin Lake lovers and livers, Renew Our Rivers is about more than just a cleanup. It’s about community.
Celebrating its 16th cleanup this year, the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association (LMLPA) has teamed up with Alabama Power to provide a way for neighbors, friends and organizations to give back to the lake and the community they love.
“So many of the people in our area that are involved in the cleanup live on the lake,” said Johnny Capps, the cleanup organizer this year. “People just want to have a role in helping with Renew Our Rivers and keeping the lake clean.”
For Logan Martin, the cleanup stretches over an entire week. This year it began on Saturday, March 21 as LMLPA volunteers distributed bags and T-shirts for each volunteer who participated. The weeklong cleanup provides volunteers of all ages numerous opportunities to help pick up trash, offering five collection sites: Lakeside Landing, Riverside Marina, Poor House Branch Marina, Woods Surfside Marina or Clear Creek Marina.
With the bags donated on Sunday, March 22, hundreds of volunteers visited the lake at their convenience throughout the week to pick up trash and litter.
“Last year, we were overwhelmed with the number of volunteers who showed up the first Saturday and continued to come back to clean throughout the week,” said Linda Ruethemann, president of LMLPA. “They would ask, ‘Where can I get more bags?’ and remained involved until the final cleanup day.”
In addition to bringing the community together, LMLPA seizes the opportunity to teach school groups and organizations about environmental education through Renew Our Rivers. In the weeks leading up to the cleanup, LMLPA volunteers visit classrooms in local schools to educate students about conservation and stewardship.
After one of these visits, Shirley Skeivelas, a teacher at Eden Elementary School, jumpstarted the cleanup week by leading 28 third- and fourth-grade students on a field trip to pick up trash.
“Our students have taken nature class for several years,” Skeivelas said. “They have learned to become more aware of what we need to do to keep our environment viable. By engaging the students in the cleanup, we are getting them on the right path to become more conscious of our lake and what they can do to keep it clean.”
Skeivelas explained that the students are more mindful of the amount of litter by living so close to the lake and having access to boats. She hopes to make this field trip an annual event for the children.
“I spoke with these students a few weeks ago and I was impressed with the enthusiasm they had about doing their part to clean up the lake,” Capps said. “After their field trip, Shirley reported the kids had a blast. It’s a great hands-on way for students to learn about our lake and how they can help.”
In addition to students and LMLPA, local organizations have also jumped in to support the cleanup.
Alabama Power Service Organization volunteers pitched in to help clean up trash and large debris along the shoreline of the lake.
“I live in Pell City and this is our home lake,” said APSO volunteer Jeremy Smith. “I fish out here almost every weekend and I see firsthand how important it is to keep this lake clean. We’re glad to be able to help out and be a part of the community.”
APSO is one of the many groups helping make an impact on the lake through Renew Our Rivers and LMLPA.
To celebrate all of the volunteers, LMLPA hosted a picnic at Lakeside Landing in Pell City on Saturday, March 28 with free food, refreshments and entertainment.
“We’ve been doing this celebration for about 10 years,” Capps said. “It’s a way we can thank everyone for helping ,and spend time together.”
Learn how you can get involved in a cleanup near you with the Renew Our Rivers schedule.