Out, skank! Stream cleanup preserves oasis

Enjoying the great outdoors at this time of year is kind of a no-brainer. The weather is perfect, the outdoor cafés are open, and many of the thousands of college students have either graduated or gone home. Lovely! Our town returns somewhat to an idyllic village where parking doesn’t cause a migraine and West Main isn’t clogged by teenagers in their SUVs. What better way to celebrate than to pick up some of the trash that has been left behind?
The Living Education Center for Ecology and the Arts and the Renaissance School are joining forces to sponsor the fourth “Get the skank out of Schenk’s Branch Stream clean-up, 2002.” This little stream is a hidden green oasis in the middle of downtown beside McIntire Road next to the recycling center opposite the skatepark.
As happens to all city waterways, this downtown stream has collected the detritus of urban life and deposited it along its banks, presenting another opportunity for volunteers to contribute to the greening of our community. 
Bodos has generously donated bagels for hungry workers; the Mudhouse will contribute free coffee while it lasts (bring your own mug); and Chef Ted’s Miracle Hand Washing Station will be available to sanitize and wash the hearty volunteers.
And what’s a little community clean-up action without music? Local musicians such as Stratton Salidis, the Hogwaller Ramblers, Ben Jacobs, and Peter Greisar will be on hand to serenade and inspire while volunteers work to keep the stream flowing clean and green.
While living in Eugene, Oregon, this reporter can attest to the power of community action. Flyers posted for a beautification of the beach, an hour’s drive away, brought almost 5,000 people to the ocean the first weekend. The city provided free dump trucks and they hauled almost 40 truckloads of junk. The best part though, was the camaraderie of the participants. In true Oregon fashion, we danced, sang, and watched the sun set from a sparkling beach free from garbage. Even though it’s not as grand as the ocean, the Schenk’s Branch Stream Clean-up deserves at least a modicum of the same attention.

The Schenk’s Branch Clean-up happens Saturday, May 25 from 10am-4pm. Meet anywhere along the stream, which is located on McIntire Road past the recycling center opposite the skatepark (look for signs).

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