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    Givin' the Love with Missouri River Relief

    Happy Earth Day everyone! For us there's no better way to blog on this day than by highlighting a group of passionate activists making a difference in their neck of the woods, or in this case, their stretch of the river.

    A while back, Patagonia employee Charlotte Overby spent her enviro internship with Missouri River Relief, a group of industrious river rats on a quest to clean up the lower Missouri River – 735 miles of it from Sioux City, Iowa to St. Louis, Missouri. It’s a big job, but they’re determined to rescue this stretch of North America’s longest river from a scourge of garbage.

    At the time this video was made, 336 miles of the river had been cleaned. But before the large-scale cleaning events can happen, a small group has to scout the river and catalog all the trash they encounter. Charlotte participated in what the group called the "Mega-Scout," a cataloging of the entire 735-mile lower Missouri River.

    Now that the Mega-Scout is complete, clean-up events continue to take place. Missouri River Relief is always in need of volunteers and/or donations so please consider helping if you can.

    Hit the jump for a mind-blowing list of all the trash collected at a recent River Relief clean-up event.

    One of the volunteer duties at River Relief is particularly important for spreading awareness. From Charlotte:

    At the cleanups, they post a volunteer next to the dumpsters and recycling bins to tally everything that comes in. The lists are amazing, and I’ve attached their latest – a list of all the stuff collected at an illegal dumpsite on the banks of the Osage River, near where it joins the Missouri River. River Relief submits the trash lists to local newspapers, TV stations, city councils, public works department, etc. to publicize. 60 washing machines? 2 toilets? A jukebox? 2 baby dolls? Yikes.

    Osage River Mari-Osa Dump Clean-up
    Loose Creek, MO
    March 1st & 2nd, 2008

    Volunteers: 75
    MRR Crew: 18
    Boats: 4 (3 Missouri River Relief boats and 1 Missouri Department of Conservation)
    Scrap Tons: 13.2
    Landfill Tons: 5.5 tons
    Tires: 68

    Filling four 30-yard dumpsters of scrap metal and one 30-yard dumpster of landfill, we found (at least):

    212 bags of trash
    195 tin/steel cans
    196 buckets
    161 barrels
    48 tubs
    2 freon/gas cylinders
    34 refrigerators
    49 hot water heaters
    39 stoves
    7 furnaces
    10 kitchen sinks
    9 rusty stoves
    1 baby stroller
    1 1960s plastic microscope
    1 water logged brassierre
    1 microwave
    1 television
    1 oil pump
    1 iron jack
    1 furnace
    1 shortwave tube radio
    1 computer
    2 baby dolls
    1 typewriter
    1 bbq grill barrel
    1 elementary school desk
    1 camping thermos
    1 box fan
    5 dryers
    1 steel & wooden wagon tongue
    1 “Rug Doctor” carpet cleaner
    1 large Kelvinator sign
    1 juke box
    1 sewing machine stand
    2 AC units
    60 washing machines
    2 wringer washers
    2 toilets
    68 tires
    35 car body parts & panels
    1 pink 1950s Ford
    1 rusty hood of a 1956 DeSota
    1 front fender of a 1949 Studebaker
    1 Ford clutch pressure plate (1963)
    2 Cadillac hub caps
    1 blue 1956 Pontiac
    5 gas tanks
    12 wheels
    8 car seats
    4 mufflers
    9 gas cans
    4 car batteries
    5 Missouri license plates (1976, 1930, 1931, 1971)
    10 car seat springs
    2 clay pipes
    19 lengths of guttering
    786 assorted scraps of rusty metal (sheet-stamped-angle-tube)
    34 panels or rolls of fencing
    16 pieces of barbed wire
    12 pieces of 1” wire cable
    158 pieces of steel wire (small to large)
    74 pieces of structural iron and tube
    14 pieces of cast iron
    23 bed frame
    37 bed springs
    2 stereos
    7 gas grills
    2 gas push mowers
    1 roaster oven
    108 cooking utensils
    2 big wheels
    1 bicycle
    1 tricycles
    1 unicycle
    1 office chair
    1 enamel chamber pot “thunder bucket” shot full of bullet holes
    7 metal chairs
    4 lamps
    36 metal cabinets & shelving
    2 bicycle wheels
    1 snow sled
    3 commercial clothes dryer
    1 ironing machine
    1 hand iron
    1 ornate cast iron wood stove
    1 porcelain bathtub in pieces

    Visit www.riverrelief.org to find out more about this amazing group of volunteers. They're just one example of the millions of grassroots activists around the world who deserve our thanks on this day. Of course, we all play our part. So thank YOU as well, for all you do to cherish and protect our beautiful planet. Now get out there and enjoy it!

    ----------------------------------------------

    Video credits:

    Produced by Jim Karpowicz and Charlotte Overby

    Music by Sam D’Agostino, Alex Baisch (and Flux Capacitor), The People’s Republic of Klezmerica

    Talking heads:

    Charlotte Overby
    Patagonia employee

    Steve Schnarr (long red hair and red beard)
    River Relief project director

    Tim Nigh
    ecologist, River Relief volunteer

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