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Blue River Rescue-2013

Posted in: Helpful, Inspiring Teams, Splashing Events, Spotlight- May 24, 2013 No Comments

By Bob Beauchamp from Honeywell

This spring marked the twenty-third annual Project Blue River Rescue, sponsored by The Friends of Lakeside Nature Center Stream Team #175 in Kansas City, Missouri. For the twenty-third year, good people came together, joined their efforts and energy and common desire to make the world a better place and cleaned up trash along the Blue River. This year there were somewhere in the neighborhood of one thousand volunteers each giving a few hours of their time, joining their collective efforts and removing tons of trash and litter from along the roads and river throughout the watershed. With a group this big and so diverse, no one person can see the whole story. There were a thousand different stories happening all at once. Parents bringing their children out for their first experience of picking up trash, young people filling bags with litter thrown from car windows over the past year and wondering “why do some people have so little regard for the earth that sustains us, that they would treat it so poorly?” The older volunteers, some of whom can remember back over the years to a time when the accumulated neglect of previous generations had left this very river and surrounding woods and fields awash in unsightly trash and wasted resources, are now proud. What is it that brings a thousand people together, bringing their families and friends joining with strangers and future friends, getting dirty and muddy and scratched and sore, and collecting and hauling bags of trash and tires up hills and through fields to be hauled off? What is it that brings together so many people who are in so many ways different from one another, different in age, different in views on the social and political directions of our great nation, and yet unites them for a few hours in this common cause? It seems that common thread that binds us is a desire to make the world a better place. We look at the things in the world that should not be, like tons of trash along the roads and rivers, and instead of just accepting it, we think to ourselves “this should not be,” and then we take the next step and think to ourselves “I can do something about it!” We each know that the results of our personal individual efforts, all by themselves, aren’t going to make a huge difference. But we have also learned that our individual efforts, combined with the efforts of others, can add up to create an enormous impact. The day of the Blue River Rescue is such a strong visual confirmation of this basic, simple principle. It is unlikely that twenty-three years ago, as a little band of people gathered for the first Blue River Rescue, that they could have fully envisioned that their relatively small steps would carry on and grow down through the years, that so many others in future generations would likewise embrace the vision that we can make our little part of the world a better place. That the combined efforts of thousands of people over so many years would transform desecrated woodlands and waterways back towards their natural beauty. They couldn’t necessarily “change the world” all by themselves, but they could choose to be agents of positive change and influence in their own community and with their own families and neighbors. What a gift it is to each of us to be the beneficiaries of their first simple steps. And what a gift it is to each of us to be able to add our own simple steps and efforts… to help create the peace that comes from working together to make our lives, our families, our communities and the world a better place, both now and for generations to come.


Thanks for a fantastic cleanup, for leading a record number of volunteers, for being a team, for being our pals, for leaving a clean river in your wake.