Strodes Creek gets its annual cleaning

Published 9:30 am Friday, August 11, 2023

Minnows and other fauna weren’t the only life forms gathered at the stream on Barnes Drive on Tuesday morning.

On a bright summer day, one quite different from the weather from a year earlier, nearly a dozen volunteers gathered at the stream as a part of the annual Strodes Creek Clean-Up.

“We’re just trying to do our part for water quality, and we’re trying to offer opportunities for citizens to get involved,” said Shanda Cecil, Winchester’s stormwater coordinator. “This is their creek, and water quality should be important to everybody.”

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Accompanied by trash pickers and supplies used to pick up litter, such as hefty bags and True Value buckets, participants started their walk along the creek – located across from one of Clark County Fire Department’s stations – at approximately 9:00 a.m.

As one might, unfortunately, expect, typically littered items such as plastic cups and Ale-8 bottles were found.

However, they were far from all.

Small items found included ketchup packets, miniature whiskey bottles, rubber gloves, bags of chips and wrappers from Popeyes and other fast food locations.

Much larger – and unexpected – items could be found as well.

Among them were roofing materials, a bucket of weed killer, a fan belt for a car, and – oddly enough – a square fold-up table.

The latter was waterlogged to the point that the worn wood fell apart in their hands despite Cecil and a co-worker attempting to carry it.

“In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be any [litter],” Cecil said. “It’s kind of like a treasure hunt.”

The search extended onto parts of North Main Street.

“What happens is [that] people don’t necessarily walk and put the litter in the creek. It gets blown in,” Cecil added. “We’re going to stop it before it ever gets in the creek.”

Krystal Lowery, the program coordinator for Drug Court of the Department of Specialty Courts, was present with a co-worker and member of the program.

“We have people with felonies and misdemeanors who have substance use disorder. We try to help them engage in the community,” said Lowery, wearing rubber boots to prepare for ankle-deep waters. “If nothing else, we’re getting litter out of this area, and it gives [participants] a sense of giving back and doing something. I think that matters a whole lot.”

After approximately one hour, with the area looking cleaner and clearer, the department of public works was called to collect bags for disposal.

“The value of it is just looking back and seeing a clean creek,” Cecil said.