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Milford Citizens Volunteer on Martin Luther King Day of Service

More than 100 volunteers turn out for Great Creek Marsh clean up

It's amazing what a difference a couple of hundred hands make.

On Monday Jan. 21, combining the Martin Luther King Day of Service with the Milford Conservation Commission’s ongoing efforts to clean the city’s open spaces, residents freely donated their efforts at the Great Creek Marsh clean-up.

The youngest volunteer may have been only four years old, and the oldest, a bit older. But all worked willingly, even happily, seeing the difference they made as they fanned out into the creek.

They heaved lumber, fencing and window frames that were strewn across the marsh from nearby homes damaged during Hurricane Sandy.  They combed reeds and shrubbery of insulation. They removed hundreds of multi-colored foam boards and smaller foam particles from the many florist oases discarded there.

Of course there were bottles galore—plastic water bottles, bleach containers, soda and beer cans. Most worrisome were the several hazardous chemical bottles, empty and full, scattered deep in the marsh.

Steve Johnson and Bill Poutray, both members of MCC, remarked on the volunteer’s level of enthusiasm, and more importantly, their results. “The amount of debris that was handpicked out of the marsh was simply astounding” said Johnson.

Volunteer Boy Scouts found large segments of Milford’s beautiful boardwalk, which took heavy damage from Sandy and is still unrepaired, and hauled them out—a sad sight to see. Yet others collected asbestos tiles along the beach, taking advantage of the low tide. The state will be collecting the piles of debris and hazardous chemicals, sparing the city that expense. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection will assume responsibility for disposing asbestos tiles.

The next walk you take at Silver Sands Park, try to observe and appreciate your fellow citizens’ efforts. Better yet, join them at MCC’s next clean up.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Steve Johnson January 24, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Thank you Mary for helping to share what a great cause 113 volunteers dedicated their time during Monday's Martin Luther King Day of service. What these volunteers accomplished was just astounding. Joe Maler, the CT DEEP Park Supervisor was "thrilled with how things went". Joe and his staff were grateful for the tremendous benefit that this stewardship cause provided. Truly it was a team effort. CT DEEP didn't have the resources to do it alone nor could the volunteers have accomplished so much without the support of the CT DEEP staff and equipment. It really demonstrated how the community cares about these special open space areas. It gave people a chance to help make a difference and they did in a big way. Importantly, it wasn't all about hard work. People enjoyed themselves, they made new friends and shared a common goal. Younger children were nurtured in stewardship values and had the chance to be involved on a level that was important to them. It was an incredible day that came together after only a few days of notice. Thank you everyone who responded in such a generous way. You each helped make this day a success and make a difference in the Great Creek Marsh at Silver Sands State Park. Steve Johnson City of Milford Open Space and Natural Resource Agent
Steve Johnson January 24, 2013 at 07:41 PM
One more observation about the clean-up. This wasn't just a Milford volunteer project. Importantly, we had volunteers from Orange, Stratford, Derby, Shelton, Trumbull and Hamden. Many hands made a big difference. Having the support of our neighboring towns made it even more rewarding.

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