South Haven pond cleanup nets stroller
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent September 15, 2012 3:00PM
Kathy Lewther of Valparaiso snags a beer can out of the brush along the shores of the pond at Haven Hollow Park in South Haven, IN on Saturday September 15, 2012. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 17, 2012 6:45AM
SOUTH HAVEN — John Swanson, executive director of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, got what he described as the catch of the day Saturday.
At 20 pounds, it was certainly the largest thing fished out of the pond at Haven Hollow, even if it was a stroller and not an actual fish.
“We just saw one wheel popping out because it was down in the muck,” said Swanson, one of nine volunteers from NIRPC who volunteered to clean up around the pond, fed by Salt Creek. The cleanup was part of the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ annual adopt-a-beach cleanup day.
“How it got there is beyond us. It’s the question du jour, because it was on the other side of the pond and down a steep bank,” said Swanson.
All told, the volunteers from NIRPC collected 68.7 pounds of trash, including the stroller. Other finds included bottles, cans, duct tape, building material, wire fencing, plastic bags, food containers and cigarette butts.
The refuse was catalogued, weighed and put in the trash, said Amanda Pollard, NIRPC’s environmental educator.
The effort, which also took place on the region’s beaches and along other waterways, is part of International Coastal Cleanup, said Katie Larson, education coordinator for the alliance, which will compile all of the items found at the participating sites.
Volunteers tackled 20 locations in Indiana, Larson said, including the state and national parks and local marinas. Last year, volunteers collected more than 2,000 pounds of trash at 13 sites, and Larson is expecting more garbage this year, because there are more locations.
This was the first year NIRPC put together a group to help with cleanup.
“It’s certainly consistent with our environmental mission,” Swanson said.
And there are opportunities all year to help keep local waterways clean, said Kathy Luther, NIRPC’s director of environmental programs. Those include adopting a beach, water quality monitoring, and adopting a stream.
Some NIRPC staff spent Saturday learning about rain gardens, another way to keep waterways clean, Luther said.
“Bit by bit, I think we’re making a difference,” Swanson said.