RiverLink and Americorps Project Conserve teamed up for a Sept. 6 cleanup of the French Broad River. The group hauled a small mountain of trash and unusual items out of a stretch of the river near downtown Asheville, including huge tires, large pieces of Styrofoam, and more. Using canoes donated by Dave Donnell of the Asheville Outdoor Center on Amboy Road, the 30 AmeriCorps members floated to 144 Riverside in the River Arts District, cleaning as they went.
RiverLink is no stranger to cleanups of the French Broad. “We try to get into this part the river every chance we get for cleaning,” said Dave Russell of RiverLink. “This stretch of the French Broad is very urban and tends to need more attention than its rural sections.” Located in the River Arts District of Asheville, RiverLink is a regional non-profit spearheading the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River and its tributaries as a place to live, work and play.
The cleanup was part of an orientation for new members of AmeriCorps’ Project Conserve program, which will pair 32 young people with environmental agencies across Western North Carolina for the next 11 months.
AmeriCorps Project Conserve is administered by Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service in the office of Governor Pat McCrory, and thecritical support of its host sites and community partners.
RiverLink is hosting two AmeriCorps members over the next year – Assistant Volunteer Coordinator Jess Peete and Education Coordinator Lizzy Stokes-Cawley. Peete returns for her second year of service, and has been instrumental in RiverLink’s volunteer recruitment efforts. Stokes-Cawley will be visiting area schools and civic groups to teach lessons on water quality and other environmental issues.