Cameron Smyth | The 2020 Neighborhood Cleanup and Online Environmental Expo — a socially distant alternative to the River Rally

Cameron Smyth

Many of us have felt cooped up as the months of restrictions and health orders linger on and we work together to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Fortunately, the city of Santa Clarita has a new, safe and fun activity to get people out and about, while maintaining social distancing and doing good for our neighborhoods and community.

I encourage all of you to participate in the first-ever 2020 Neighborhood Cleanup and Online Environmental Expo on Sept. 26, which acts as a socially distant alternative to the city’s annual River Rally Cleanup event, which typically hosts hundreds of participants each year. While we may not be able to clean up the Santa Clara River as a community in 2020, this citywide coordinated effort is designed to get residents and their families outside to pick up litter in their neighborhoods.

The city’s efforts to preserve the beauty of Santa Clarita date back to the first River Rally event in 1994. Today, we present an alternative that fulfills the promise of the city’s environmental initiative while giving the residents of Santa Clarita the same opportunities to learn about environmental stewardship.

Residents can get started by registering online as a participant on the city’s website at Participants can visit one of the eight drive-thru locations throughout Santa Clarita, including City Hall, the Old Town Newhall Library and Canyon Country Park. Once registered, visit your designated drive-thru location from 8 a.m. to noon to pick up supplies on the day of the event. Participants will receive trash bags, giveaways, a drought-resistant plant and a scavenger hunt with special raffle prizes. Once participants have collected their supplies, they can begin cleaning their neighborhood and place waste in their trash bags, which will then be placed in their own waste bin.

Scavenger hunt

One of the coolest parts of this event is the chance to win a special raffle prize (while supplies last) by completing the scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt instructions will be handed out at each of the drive-thru locations and include various challenges, including taking photos and answering trivia questions. In order to be entered into the raffle, completed scavenger hunt cards and accompanying photos must be posted on social media publicly using the hashtag #CleanUpSC. Participants also have the option to direct message their completed scavenger hunt to the city’s official Instagram @CityofSantaClarita.

After a full day of picking up litter outside, participants are invited to visit the Online Environmental Expo. While the Environmental Expo is normally held in-person next to the River Rally Cleanup event, this year’s expo will be held online — featuring the same high-quality educational resources about water conservation, recycling and much more — all through short videos featuring the city’s leading environmental experts.

We are excited to pay homage to one of Santa Clarita’s signature events in a new and exciting format. In addition to being a great opportunity to volunteer, this is a great moment to reconnect with your community in a unified effort to keep Santa Clarita green and beautiful.

Residents can learn more about the Neighborhood Cleanup and Online Environmental Expo by visiting If you have any questions about registration or how to participate, please call the event hotline at 661-284-1415 or email [email protected].

Cameron Smyth is the Mayor of Santa Clarita and can be reached at [email protected].

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