Earth Day cleanup at Sampawams Creek

Save the Great South Bay hauls out almost 900 pounds of trash


Half a ton of trash was hauled out of Sampawams Creek, in West Islip, on Sunday, April 23, from 1 to 3 p.m. The Earth Day weekend event was originally scheduled for that morning, but was delayed due to inclement weather, which cleared beautifully by early afternoon, drawing at least 25 volunteers to the Great American Cleanup event. It was held in partnership with Keep Islip Clean and the Save the Great South Bay, a group of dedicated environmentalists. The volunteer organization participated in several cleanup activities throughout the area, not just to commemorate the environmentally friendly holiday, but as something they do all year to maintain and preserve the South Shore’s natural beauty.

This cleanup was organized by Save the Great South Bay members Andy Mirchel, Ed Ragan, and Janet Marie Soley, president of the Friends of Connetquot River State Park Preserve.

Some volunteers such as Brett Budris and Jill Daniel, just happened to be passing by, when they saw the cleanup crew in action and felt moved to join in and participate with the other ecologically minded residents.

“I didn’t know about it. I was just driving past, and the next thing I know I have a vest on and I’m cleaning,” said the smiling young man, who was glad to have the impromptu opportunity to help clean the area around the creek and the bucolic Hawley’s Lake Park.

Budris, 25, said, “I’m an environmentalist, and I love fishing. I’m a big fisherman. I see what the bay looks like in the summertime. I’d like to see it the way it was again in my lifetime. In July and August, you used to be able to see the bottom, and now the water looks like a septic tank.”

Despite the change in time and rainy weather, the cleanup was a huge success, with several bags of trash collected by the diligent environmentalists.

“We hauled out almost 900 pounds of trash, probably over half a ton. We had tires contribute to that,” explained Ragan. “Anyone who wants to get rid of tires throws them in the creek to save money, since they can’t throw them out as trash. We pulled about 30 tires out of the creek.”

The group diligently cleaned the creek and adjoining wetlands area, which is controlled by the state, on Sunday afternoon.

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