Annual River Rally participants clean up Santa Clara River

Members of the Saugus High School Dance Team join hundreds of volunteers for the 24th City of Santa Clarita River Rally to clean up the Santa Clara River bed in Santa Clarita on Saturday, September 22, 2018. (Photo by Dan Watson)
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More than 1,400 volunteers cleaned up the Santa Clara River, near Wiley Canyon Road, Saturday during Santa Clarita’s 24th annual River Clean-Up and Environmental Expo.

The events goal is to not only clean up trash in the river, but to bring awareness, said Laura Jardine, project technician. “We want to make sure people know, when they do put trash on the ground or drop trash, it ends up in the river and, ultimately, in the ocean.”

Every volunteer went through a brief training before entering the river, to educate them on what to avoid and what to watch out for, Jardine said.

“Once they have received that training, they get gloves and a bag to head out into the river,” Jardine said. “They can spend as much time as they’d like out there picking up trash.”

Thousands of volunteers have collected more than 436,000 pounds of trash and debris from the river, since the event began 24 year ago in 1994.

Trash is moved down the river to a common dumpsite. Michele Lutes/The Signal

“We come out every year,” said SCV resident Anthony Fuschillo. “We are out here to help our community.”

Anthony walked the Santa Clara River bed with his sons Roman and Jack, and their Cub Scout Pack 48.

“We found a memorial just back in the river, there was a cross and flowers,” he said. “The Cub Scouts and parents cleaned up around the area. It gave me a chance to show my kids how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads and a good life.”

Other groups from schools, churches, girl scouts, boy scouts and families all worked together to have fun while picking up any trash they could find.

Members of Cub Scout Pack 575, from left, Lonnie Dilan. Logan Brambica-Dilan, 10, Cub Master John Kuhn, Jackson Kuhn, 8, and Blaze Brambica-Dilan, 7 , pull an old tent from the Santa Clara River bed as they join hundreds of volunteers for the 24th City of Santa Clarita River Rally in Santa Clarita on Saturday, September 22, 2018. (Photo by Dan Watson)

The city has three locations they rotate through for the event each year. This year, they cleaned up the river near Wiley Canyon Road and Via Princessa.

“The last time we were at this location in 2014, we had about 9,600 pounds of trash collected,” Jardine said. “We will see how much we have this year.”

After the trash collection is complete, volunteers receive free shaved ice and a commemorative giveaway.

“This year, we have these cool hats that are made from recycled water bottles,” said Jardine. “Their time in the river is very much appreciated.”

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