The Musconetcong Watershed Association held their annual cleanup day Saturday all along the watershed, from Lake Hopatcong to the Delaware River.
Throughout the state an estimated 400-500 people participate in the cleanup efforts. At Hopatcong State Park in Landing, project director Adrienne Kaczyaski welcomed about a dozen local volunteers to share in the cleanup efforts near Lake Hopatcong and along the Musconetcong River which flows south through Hopatcong.
This is the twenty-first year the MWA has spearheaded a spring cleanup. According to Kaczyaski, the majority of volunteers show up near MWA headquarters in Asbury, NJ, where, after a morning of picking up trash, volunteers are treated to a hamburger and hot dog barbeque. Through a “watershed ambassador,” Kaczyaski hopes to grow the project in the northern part of the state and enticing more people to become involved in the cleanup effort.
Of the dozen or so people who did take part, 8 were members of the Kiwanis Club of Lenape Valley which includes people from Hopatcong, Byram, Netcong and Stanhope. According to Alice Harrison, a Kiwanis board member from Byram, the club has a national project known as “One Day” in which clubs are required to participate in a local service project. Coincidently, the MWA cleanup day and “One Day” fell on the same day. The club thought helping with the MWA cleanup would be a “perfect project for us,” said Harrison. The group mostly walked along the bank of the river just west of the state park, filling garbage bag after garbage bag full of bottles and cans and plastic bags. Some larger items were pulled from the brush and left along the side of the road for pickup.
For Katie Della Terza and her friend, Jonathan Bullock, both from Jefferson, preserving the beauty and health of the local watershed is what she wants to do for the rest of her life. A recent college graduate with a degree in environmental science, Della Terza said she showed up a few years ago to help but no one else showed up. Undeterred, when she found out about Saturday’s event, she didn’t hesitate to help, dragging Bullock along to help with the heavy lifting. Della Terza and Bullock worked near the dam of Lake Hopatcong pulling garbage from thick underbrush.
“He comes with me to all my projects,” she said of Bullock who works as a grounds keeper at a local golf course.
Representing the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, Donna Macalle-Holly came prepared with rubber gloves and enthusiasm. Working alone along the bank and in the water of the river just down from the dam, Macalle-Holly spent about 2 hours of her Saturday to help with the project.