May River cleanup to offer tips on green living to Bluffton residents

cconley@islandpacket.comApril 18, 2012 

  • The May River Cleanup and Environmental Education Fair scheduled Saturday is one of several education-themed Earth Day events taking place this weekend. Others include:

  • The third-annual Habersham Earth Day from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Habersham Marketplace, Beaufort. Details: www.habershammarketplace.com

  • Experience Green is hosting a zero-waste Earth Day event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Shelter Cove Community Park, Hilton Head Island. Details: http://www.experiencegreen.org/

  • Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity's ReStore, at 616 Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort, is hosting an art exhibit on from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday featuring works made from household items. Details: 843-525-0055.

More than 200 people are expected to participate Saturday in the May River Cleanup, which organizers hope will remove trash and other waste from nearly 12 miles of river and five miles of roadways.

But after the work is done, participants will be invited to explore booths and exhibits at the 12-year-old event's first Environmental Education Fair.

Representatives from nearly a dozen agencies, businesses and nonprofit organizations are expected to attend the education fair, which aims to present participants with new tips and ideas for green living.

"The goal is to provide information on how we can all be better neighbors to the river and our planet in our daily choices," said Kim Jones, water-quality program manager for the town of Bluffton.

Lowcountry Rain Barrel, Bear Island Farm and the Lowcountry Institute are among the companies and organizations expected to attend the fair. Like the cleanup, it is sponsored by the town of Bluffton. Event partners include Keep America Beautiful, Palmetto Pride and the Beaufort Conservation District.

Russ Charek of Lowcountry Rain Barrel said he's hoping introduce more people to the water-conserving benefits of rain barrels.

"A lot of people will come up and say, 'Oh, my grandparents use those,' or 'My parents have one of them,' " said Charek, who works as a computer consultant and coordinates the sale of rain barrels throughout the region. "They may be accepting of it ... but I think people aren't quite familiar with them."

Jamie Vidich, owner of Bear Island Farm, said he'll use the event to explain the benefits of buying local and eating organic foods.

Students from the University of South Carolina Beaufort are expected to bring displays and explain research conducted in recent weeks.

The cleanup will start at 9 a.m. at Oyster Factory Park on Wharf Street in old town Bluffton and last until 1 p.m. Volunteers should plan to stop by the park Saturday morning to pick up supplies and receive assignments. A limited number of kayaks will be available to remove trash from the river.

Volunteers will be treated to morning coffee and snacks and a barbecue lunch. For more information, or directions, go to the May River Clean Up page on Facebook.

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