Last year on June 21, nearly 20 people showed up to the popular swimming spot Soldier’s Hole—but they weren’t there to swim. These dedicated individuals showed up to the natural space to volunteer their time to help clean up the littered area. Despite poor weather, these local volunteers attended and made the first Annual Swimming Hole Cleanup Party a success.

Juan Baztarrica, the organizer of these cleanup initiatives, says one of his favourite things to do is spend time around the river. However, once he noticed the amount of glass and trash that littered these areas he decided to do something about it. With the help of some garden tools and a Spring Up to Clean Up kit from Ecosuperior, Baztarrica and his crew managed to dig up around fifteen bags of glass and trash from the tree wells and the shore. “We even posted signage suggesting people brings cans instead of glass” says Baztarrica. To encourage the volunteers, Baztarrica provided them with food, beverages, and music—there were even two acoustic acts who performed. According to Baztarrica, everyone in the group was “very motivated and stayed until dusk.”

At the heart of it, Baztarrica wants “get as much publicity as possible to get the message across that people should bring cans not bottles to the river, and pack their trash out with them.” Since then, Baztarrica only has time to organize one cleanup a year it is of utmost importance that the message to keep these natural spaces clean and safe remains long after the cleanup parties are gone.