[KHTS] – More than 1,000 people of all ages came out to the Santa Clara River wash Saturday morning to participate in the 21st annual River Rally and Environmental Expo.
Photo: Andrew Kelley
Approximately 1,500 participants spent the morning cleaning up a section of the Santa Clara river wash behind the shopping center at 18386 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country.
“Everybody gets gloves and (trash) bags and once they’ve been trained by the biologist on what to be aware of in the river, then they go down,” said Laura Jardine, project technician with the city of Santa Clarita’s Environmental Services Division. “We send everybody out and they pick up as much trash and debris as they can.”
Before going down into the Santa Clara river wash, participants were trained by biologists about where to walk, what not to touch and collect as well as information about some wildlife participants may encounter, such as rattlesnakes.
The Santa Clara river wash is home to many wildlife species, many of which are threatened, endangered or otherwise sensitive, according to event organizers.
“We are so proud of (the people who came) to volunteer to clean our river. Our river is one of the most special in Southern California because it is one of the very last free flowing rivers,” said Mayor Marsha McLean. “Even though you say, ‘what, there’s no water in it,’ there’s no water up on top but believe me, there’s water down below and it keeps replenishing our ground water. When it rains, and they’re telling us it’s really going to rain, you will know that that river is a river.”
Participants also had the opportunity to learn more about sustainability and environmental awareness options from 20 vendors at the event.
“Everybody loves this event, it’s really fun because everybody gets to come together as a community and make a difference for our community and also learn and have fun together at the same time,” said Jardine. “I just love seeing everybody here. It’s fun to see this many people participate and actually enjoy doing it and it’s great.”
City officials estimate that to date, thousands of volunteers have collected over 396,000 pounds of trash from the Santa Clara river wash and its tributaries.
“(I’m out here to) clean up the community and do my part. It’s hard work,” said first time attendee Marci Goldstein. “Somebody has to keep our city clean.”