An Saturday celebration is set to rid the Tar of trash in Oxford.
The Granville County Environmental Affairs Committee, conservation organization Sound Rivers and Strong Arm Baking Company are teaming up to host the Marshall Floyd Memorial Cleanup on April 30.
Floyd, a longtime member of both Sound Rivers and the EAC, passed away in January. Though his entire career was spent working for the local telephone company, Floyd’s lifelong passion was conservation.
Former chair of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment David Hinton, also a Sound Rivers and EAC member, recalled using Floyd’s in-depth knowledge of Granville County’s waterways to introduce Hinton’s graduate students to the Tar River and the Tar River Land Conservancy.
“Marshall walked the banks of Fishing Creek with the students, providing them with the unique opportunity to see the watershed in detail,” Hinton said, adding that Floyd’s leadership “putting boots on the ground and into shorelines” is appreciated by past graduates, even decades later.
An avid canoeist, Floyd paddled waterways across North Carolina and Virginia, but, by far, his favorite canoeing trip was at home, on the Tar River. Every outing on the Tar was a learning experience, whether in paddling skills or conservation, according to Floyd’s daughter Leah Roberts.
“On one of his last trips, we were accompanied by some neighbor kids, and they would occasionally get out and scamper along the banks,” Roberts said. “Daddy would gently remind them that they were on someone else’s property when they got out, and it was best to get back in the boat and carry on if possible. But he also followed that up with an explanation that the river, however, the river itself belonged to everyone and for that reason, they should take care of it. He couldn’t resist an opportunity to throw in some conservation education.”
On April 30, teams will be scouring those same banks for trash during the cleanup in Floyd’s honor.
“I am hard pressed to think of a more appropriate way to honor him,” Roberts said.
Volunteers will meet at the Granville County Expo and Convention Center at 8:45 a.m. and teams will be sent out to several locations from there. Trash pickers, bags and gloves will be supplied, and partner Strong Arm Baking will be providing coffee and treats for volunteers. Those interested in joining the cleanup can visit soundrivers.org/event/marshall-floyd-memorial-cleanup/ to find out more and RSVP to the event. Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.