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Harrisonburg clean-up event aims to attract pre-pandemic numbers

Randi B. Hagi

Harrisonburg will host the 24th annual Blacks Run Clean-Up Day on Saturday, April 9th. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

[stream sounds]

Blacks Run bisects the city of Harrisonburg, collecting rainwater and runoff until it meets with Cooks Creek on its way to the North River, the Shenandoah, the Potomac, and into the Chesapeake Bay. Each spring, local residents gather to pick up trash along the banks. You can sign up online as an individual, family, or group.

SHAYNA CARTER: Also on that day we're doing kind of an early Arbor Day celebration and doing a tree planting at Thomas Harrison.

Shayna Carter is the city's new stormwater compliance specialist. She previously worked for the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District.

On Saturday, April 9th, at the Lucy F. Simms Continuing Education Center –

Randi B. Hagi

CARTER: We're going to have a "Green Scene" set up, which is local groups or businesses in the community are going to set up in like a science fair style to kind of tell everybody what they're doing … so that starts at 9 a.m., and that's when you also come by and pick up your supplies, confirm what part of the stream you're cleaning up, get your maps.

In 2019, 700 people came out to clean up the stream. Last year, there were just 200 – they're hoping to start building back attendance to pre-pandemic levels.

CARTER: And we also do tree plantings throughout the year. If you have a small group of people that want to do a tree planting, you can contact our office and we can get you set up and you can just do a group tree planting at any time!

For more information, visit the Harrisonburg Public Works Facebook page, or cleanstream.org.

Randi B. Hagi first joined the WMRA team in 2019 as a freelance reporter. Her writing and photography have been featured in The Harrisonburg Citizen, where she previously served as the assistant editor; as well as The Mennonite; Mennonite World Review; and Eastern Mennonite University's Crossroads magazine.