Press Release: Keep America Beautiful Coming to Gwinnett to Celebrate Earth Week with the Launch of Great Gwinnett Wetlands

Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Teams up with Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources to Kick-off Water Stewardship Program at Bromolow Creek and Wetlands on April 25; Keep America Beautiful President Jennifer Jehn to Attend Launch and Roll Up Her Sleeves as Volunteer

Bromolow Creek and Wetlands - Gwinnett CountyDULUTH, Ga., April 17 – With Earth Day’s arrival April 22, environmental organizations all across the nation are hard at work creating events to generate involvement and excitement around the concept of protecting our planet and its precious natural resources. A little closer to home, community-based Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful (GCB) has selected Earth Week as the ideal time to launch a pilot program designed to grow awareness and promote the ongoing stewardship of Gwinnett County’s extensive network of wetlands and water sources. The program – aptly named Great Gwinnett Wetlands – marks an ongoing partnership between the environmentally focused nonprofit organization and Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources. Great Gwinnett Wetlands will encompass a number of educational and action-based initiatives designed to foster and empower a new generation of environmental stewards. The first of these initiatives is slated for Saturday, April 25 with a stewardship project at Bromolow Creek and Wetlands in Duluth. Keep America Beautiful President Jennifer Jehn will attend the event to help launch the Great Gwinnett Wetlands.

“In conjunction with Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources, we hosted the Great Gwinnett Stream Cleanup during Earth Week 2014 that was so successful, we knew we were onto something really impactful,” explained Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Executive Director, Connie Wiggins. “We inspired dozens of volunteers to come together for a common goal and to witness firsthand the positive impact they could have on the physical beauty of the stream and banks. Over the course of just two hours, 60 volunteers collected 2,500 pounds of litter from the banks of Bromolow Creek with the removal of 41 bags of trash and 25 bags of recyclables. We figured why stop there, and that’s why Great Gwinnett Wetlands is so much larger in scope. While this initial event will include action-based endeavors designed to protect Bromolow Creek and Wetlands, the bigger picture of the overall program is to educate and motivate the people of Gwinnett to become part of a growing network of community-based stewards. In keeping with our mission for 2015, we hope to promote awareness of the wetlands that funnel into our streams, rivers and lakes, while creating a sense of ownership and collective responsibility among our citizens. It’s vital that we all work together to protect and maintain these wetlands and precious water sources like the Chattahoochee River, Yellow River and Lake Lanier. They not only serve as terrific recreational destinations for swimming, boating and fishing, but they also provide drinking water to millions of people throughout Gwinnett and further downstream. We are extremely excited about the promise this program holds, and are incredibly honored that Ms. Jehn is flying down from Connecticut to help us launch it.”

Longtime GCB supporters and aspiring environmental stewards are invited to volunteer for the Bromolow Creek and Wetlands stewardship project on Saturday, April 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Throughout the day, there will be plenty of opportunities for hands on learning so participants will feel empowered to create their own water stewardship projects. Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center will be on hand as a partner in the event, which will also include beautification efforts, as well as monitoring the health of the stream to gauge the effectiveness of this and future stewardship projects. Volunteer groups will include:

  • Stream Pickers – Rain washes trash and litter to the stream, where they collect along the banks. Stream Pickers will help clean up the stream bank to help keep Gwinnett a place where people want to live, work and play.
  • Wetland Restorers – Wetlands store water from heavy rains in the ground. Wetland Restorers have the important task of helping preserve this important natural resource, while protecting Gwinnett from potential flooding.
  • Invader Warriors – Not all plants are good for the environment OR Gwinnett’s wetlands. Invader Warriors will learn how to identify some plants that invade the natural world and aid in their removal.
  • Bug Detectives – Bug detectives will use the Leaf Pack Network method from the Stroud Water Research Center to help GCB analyze bugs that are found in packs of leaves and what their presence means to the quality of the water.
  • Bird Scouts – Different bird species can show us how well a habitat supports life. Volunteers are invited to join Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful and local bird club Southern Wings to identify which species are living in the wetland.
  • Soil Protectors – Rain and wind can cause litter and excess soil to move from nearby areas into Gwinnett’s streams and wetlands. Soil protectors will help protect Bromolow Creek and Wetlands by retaining soil on the land and keeping it out of the stream.

“Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful and its partners are playing a critical role in protecting the natural areas in which we live by creating the Great Gwinnett Wetlands program,” said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Jennifer Jehn. “This program addresses the inter-connectedness of land and water, and the importance of keeping our public spaces clean so that our waterways will remain clean, healthy and beautiful as well. We’re incredibly proud to have Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful among our network of more than 600 community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates nationwide.”

Individuals, families, companies, civic groups and school groups are asked to register at www.GwinnettCB.org where they can download Volunteer Registration Forms – which they will need to complete and bring with them to the inaugural Great Gwinnett Wetlands event on April 25. Volunteers will park at Aviation Institute of Maintenance at 2025 Satellite Boulevard in Duluth before making their way over to Bromolow Creek no later than 9 a.m. Participants must be 14 years of age or older, and those under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Everyone is asked to wear long pants and t-shirts that they won’t mind getting dirty along with waterproof, close-toed shoes or sneakers. Gloves and trash bags will be supplied. As a thank you for their participation, all volunteers will receive a specially designed T-shirt to commemorate the event.

Beyond the Bromolow Creek and Wetlands stewardship project, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful plans to place more of an emphasis on its educational efforts to help make local citizens aware of the significant function wetlands serve in the overall health of the environment, as well as on the well-being of the people, plants and animals that live within that environment. By raising awareness about the Great Gwinnett Wetlands, the goal is that a growing number of individuals and groups will be inspired to play an active role in protecting Gwinnett’s wetlands and volunteer for other water-based programs such as Adopt A Stream and Stormwater Protectors. In the event that someone wishes to take part in a stream stewardship effort, but is unable to attend the Bromolow Creek event during Earth Week – GCB encourages them to initiate their own water stewardship project. The nonprofit organization is even happy to help them locate the closest waterway by calling 770-822-5187 or sending an email to gwinnettcb@gwinnettcb.org.

About Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful:  Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful Services, Inc. (GCB) is a Keep America Beautiful affiliate and award-winning 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It boasts an expansive community-based network dedicated to finding long-term solutions to environmental and quality of life issues through individual action. The organization is guided by a 55-member Citizens Advisory Board that represents all sectors of the Gwinnett County community. A nationally recognized leader in creating cleaner, greener and more livable communities throughout Gwinnett, GCB involves more than 100,000 volunteers annually to help prevent litter and graffiti, recycle and reduce waste, and increase environmental awareness. To learn more about Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful and its programs, aspiring environmental stewards are invited to visit www.GwinnettCB.org.

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