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Xylem, Sound Rivers team up for cleanup

Environmental, Events, Litter-Free Rivers, Neuse River Watershed, Sound Rivers, Volunteer, Volunteers, Water Quality

Posted on April 18th, 2024

Xylem employees emptied out a full trash trap on Little Rock Creek in Raleigh.

In celebration of Earth Day, employees from Xylem met up with Sound Rivers Volunteer Coordinator Emily Fritz, Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman for a cleanup of Little Rock Creek in Raleigh.

Xylem is a global water technology firm that works to ensure water is accessible, affordable and safe for all. Through Sound Rivers’ partner Earthshare, the company was paired with Sound Rivers for the cleanup.

One hundred twenty pounds of trash, including a child’s wooden glider, came out of Little Rock Creek.

“It was a good match. Earthshare does this every April — they find nonprofits in the Triangle area and set them up with corporate teams to set up an Earth Day volunteer opportunity,” Emily said. “We talked about Sound Rivers and the work we do, and everyone was excited to strap on some waders and get into the creek.”

After collecting 41 pounds of trash from the trash trap on Little Rock Creek, the team spread out to clean up the banks of the creek. A total of 120 pounds of trash was removed from the urban waterway. Interesting finds included a leather backpack, a bunch of broken glass and a baby glider.

“There were a ton of water bottles and Styrofoam,” Emily said. “The Xylem volunteers were getting equally as frustrated as we do picking up all the little pieces of Styrofoam.”

Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register (left) and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman wade through Little Rock Creek, snagging trash.

It wasn’t all trash, though. There was plenty of evidence of wildlife on the banks of the creek.

“There were a lot of paw prints, which is cool to see because it’s a great reminder that we’re doing something good for the wildlife by removing all that trash,” Emily said.

Earthshare rounded out the event with snacks for the whole crew, while Emily and Taylor held an Earth Day trivia game, the questions for which ranged from easy, as in “What two rivers does Sound Rivers monitor and protect?”, to a bit more challenging, such as “What famous book addressed the harm of pesticides on the environment?” (“Silent Spring”).

Sound Rivers Volunteer Coordinator Emily Fritz shows off some trash fished from the creek.

One piece of trivia did catch some of the volunteers off guard, Emily said.

“We asked what part of the Neuse River is its widest and how wide it is there — the mouth and six miles wide — and that was very surprising to some of them because they live in the Raleigh area where the Neuse is not very wide at all,” she said.

Everyone went home a winner, with Sound Rivers swag in hand.

“We had a good time, and it was a great way to get to know each other better,” Emily said.

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