More than 1,000 people clean up Santa Clara River bed during annual rally

Parker Gibson of Boy Scout Troop 584 throws a tire from the Santa Clara River bed in the dumpster as his fellow Boy Scouts watch over him during the 23rd Annual River Rally in Canyon Country on Saturday. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal
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The Santa Clara River bed is home to a diverse and natural habitat that Santa Clarita can be proud of. Unfortunately, it has become a home to trash and debris that wash into the bed when it rains.

In order to bring back the Santa Clara River’s natural beauty, the city of Santa Clarita hosted its 23rd Annual River Rally. Around 1,400 people came out with trash bags in hand to revert the river bed to a closer state that mankind found it.

“This is an event that people look forward to, they know that they are doing something good for the community,” said Laura Jardine, project technician with the city.

The volunteers focused on cleaning up the Canyon Country portion of the river bed.

From left to right, Tynan Reagan, 6, Sandor Ladanyi, 6, and Clint Reagan of Cub Scout Pack 490 help to clean up the Santa Clara River bed in Canyon Country during the 23rd Annual River Rally on Saturday. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Canyon High School’s environmental club, Eco-Chicos, brought a total of 120 students to volunteer at the event and help clean up the Santa Clarita River bed.

The event was not just about cleaning the river bed though. Educating SCV residents about the environment in ways they can be sustainable was also a goal.

Students from Canyon High School’s environmental club, Eco-Chicos, volunteered at the 23rd Annual River Rally in Canyon Country on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017.  Courtesy of Dennis Yong

As a result, a large tent was set up next to the river bed for the city to hold an Environmental Expo. Some 20 vendors, ranging from water companies to trash haulers, were present to educate attendees and give away items.

Some residents were especially enthusiastic to get the opportunity to apply what they have learned about the environment in a real-world setting. One such person was 15-year-old Sofia Washington, who came out with her father, Peter.

Sofia has been taking an Advanced Placement Environmental Science class in school, which inspired her to attend the River Rally for her first time.

A tractor carries shopping carts away from the Santa Clara River bed during the 23 Annual River Rally in Canyon Country on Saturday. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

“Plastic doesn’t decay so when it goes out into the ocean, there’s a possibility for animals to eat it and they can possibly die,” she said.

Sofia hopes this will not be her last time at the River Rally. Although, she would have to go another 22 years to match the amount of times City Councilwoman Marsha McLean has attended.

McLean has attended the event every year since it started and even considers herself an early pioneer of the rally.

“I’ve just come every single year,” said McLean. “It is so important to be able to clean up the trash.”

Bree-Anna Maxwell holds her two-month-old son, Theo Maxwell-Banks, as she volunteers during the 23rd Annual River Rally in Canyon Country on Saturday. She says participating to clean up the Santa Clara River bed helps to create a better world for her son to grow up in. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal
Canyon High School’s environmental club, Eco-Chicos brought 120 students to the 23rd Annual River Rally in Canyon Country on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017.  Courtesy of Dennis Yong
Students from Canyon High School’s environmental club, Eco-Chicos, volunteered at the 23rd Annual River Rally in Canyon Country on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017.  Courtesy of Dennis Yong

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