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Clean Your Streams day draws 750 volunteers despite rain

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    Cameron McHugh, from the left, documents the amount of trash that Zach Zmuda and Will Garbe are picking up along the river. All are students at St. Francis de Sales High School.

    <The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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    Zach Zmuda collects trash found in the foliage.

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  • Clean-Your-Streams-day-draws-750-volunteers-despite-rain

    Kyle Stanley, right, organizes volunteers, as Kris Patterson, left, executive director of Partners for Clean Streams looks on.

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Clean-Your-Streams-day-draws-750-volunteers-despite-rain

Kyle Stanley, right, organizes volunteers, as Kris Patterson, left, executive director of Partners for Clean Streams looks on.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Enlarge | Buy This Image

It s surprising what you can find on the banks of the Maumee river.

A leather coat, a tablecloth, a jar of baby food, old car tires, fairy wings from a Halloween costume. These were all found by a group of volunteers as they trudged along the Maumee river in downtown Toledo on Saturday, picking up trash as part of the 12th annual Clean Your Streams event.

This year, despite heavy rain, 750 people turned out to haul away junk from the banks of local rivers and streams. As well as the Maumee river, volunteers tackled other sites along Swan Creek, Duck and Otter Creeks, Ten Mile Creek, Grassy Creek, and the Ottawa River.

Kyle Stanley, a 17-year-old from St. Francis de Sales High School, led the cleanup effort around International Park with a group of 40 volunteers. The youngest Clean Your Streams site organizer ever, Kyle adopted the effort as his service project to become an Eagle Scout, the highest Boy Scout rank.

Clean-Your-Streams-day-draws-750-volunteers-despite-rain-2

Cameron McHugh, from the left, documents the amount of trash that Zach Zmuda and Will Garbe are picking up along the river. All are students at St. Francis de Sales High School.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Enlarge | Buy This Image

It s taken me a number of years to get to this point, and I wanted to do something original, said Kyle, who has been a Boy Scout for nine years. As a frequent rower on the Maumee River, Kyle said organizing a cleanup seemed like the best choice.

After finding out about the Clean Your Streams event, Kyle decided to make his own project a part of it. It was the first time that the river area around International Park had been part of the event, said Kris Patterson of Partners for Clean Streams, the nonprofit organization behind Saturday s endeavor.

Kyle spent several months organizing his part of the cleanup, attending safety briefings and coordination meetings. Still, he worried that nobody would turn up on Saturday because of the rain, so when 40 people appeared at the kickoff post in International Park at 8:30 a.m., he was overjoyed.

Clean-Your-Streams-day-draws-750-volunteers-despite-rain-3

Zach Zmuda collects trash found in the foliage.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Among the volunteers were friends and teachers from his school, his entire Boy Scout troop, and family members, including his 69-year-old grandmother, Gloria Stanfa.

I m very proud, his grandmother said, standing under a tarp helping to register the volunteers. I wouldn t have missed it for the world.

Boy Scout Master Dan Anderson said Kyle s project should earn him Eagle Scout status without a doubt.

Contact Claudia Boyd-Barrett at: cbarrett@theblade.com or 419-724-6507.

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