The 1st Annual Patchogue River Clean-Up
Fire Island National Seashore has teamed up with the Village of Patchogue, Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce and surrounding Patchogue River businesses invite the public to participate in the first-ever Patchogue River Clean-Up! The day started off at 10am at the Patchogue-Watch Hill Ferry Terminal for important information about the day’s activities, clean-up locations, and pick up your clean-up supplies. Participants were able to learn about the natural resources of the area with ranger-led programs, kid activities, and get info on other partner location celebrations. Both land-based and boat-based clean-up options were be available and individuals with private vessels were encouraged to sign up.
On Sunday, October 16 Fire Island National Seashore and partners hosted the first-ever Patchogue River Cleanup in honor of the 23rd Annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD). Volunteers of all ages were invited to help clean up the river at participating riverfront sites and by boat. Volunteer check-in was held at 10:00 am at the Patchogue-Watch Hill Ferry Terminal at 150 West Ave in Patchogue, New York. Work gloves, trash pickers, proper safety equipment, and light refreshments were be provided. In addition to the cleanup, park rangers and partners offered free family-oriented activities at the site throughout the day. This event was offered in collaboration with the Village of Patchogue, Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, St. Joseph’s College, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, Patchogue Theater, Blue Point Brewery, GreaterPatchogue.com, and the Friends of Fire Island National Seashore. NPLD, coordinated each year by the National Environmental Education Foundation, brings together volunteers from across the country to improve and restore the lands and facilities that Americans use and enjoy every day. Each year, NPLD volunteers provide tens of millions of dollars’ worth of services that would otherwise take limited park staff months to accomplish. Last year, more than 200,000 Americans participated in NPLD events at more than 2,500 sites in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. More information on NPLD can be found on the NEEF website at NEEFusa.org/NPLD.
With 150 volunteers signed up to help clean up the river, the first ever Patchogue river clean-up was a great success. Students made up a large percentage of volunteers as 22 volunteers were from St. Joseph’s College, and 27 from the Patchogue-Medford High School Key Club. Safety tips were given by Fire Island National Seashore’s Assistant Superintendent, Kelly Fellner, Superintendant, Chris Soller and Supervisory Park Ranger, Bernie Felix before heading out by car, on foot, or by paddle board.
Multiple vendors and activities were provided at the Watch Hill Ferry Terminal for any of those to participate in before, during, or after the clean up activities. Bellport artist Dave Adams, worked on his spin art at the Watch Hill Ferry Terminal for volunteers to participate in learning how to do. In addition, an interactive touch-tank was on the premises provided by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. Last but not least, Blue Point Brewery was a large contributor behind Sunday’s cleanup, in addition to St. Joseph’s and the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, Patchogue-Medford Library, and the Patchogue Theatre.
Many bags of garbage were collected from the river as well as the land surrounding it. This event is intended to become annual or semi-annual, as there are hopes to arrange another clean-up in the spring.