Scouts, high school clubs, individuals and families scoured the creek bed through several sections of Brentwood and Oakley, picking up everything from the classic shopping carts to tires, hoses and even furniture.
”We’ve been finding some interesting stuff,” said volunteer Kay Partain as her son Robbie, 9, dribbled one example: a tattered but nevertheless inflated basketball.
For Friends Executive Director Diane Burgis, the day not only resulted in the removal of more than four tons of trash from the creek, but in better awareness among volunteers who might not think of the creek the other 364 days a year.
“Some people might come out and pick up only a few pieces of really obvious trash, but there will be the connection that when something doesn’t get thrown away, it could wind up here (in the creek),” Burgis said.
Michele Castano brought a well-prepared family. Armed with a rake, fishing net and lots of bags and buckets, Celine, 14, Cameron, 12, and Camille, 8, found a fully functional scooter near Dainty Avenue.
”We just come out because we care about the local environment,” said Michele, who has been part of the effort since moving to Brentwood from Hayward in 2005. “It’s nice to be able to do something.”
Burgis believes the cleanup also conveys information that will help with efforts to keep the creek clean in the first place. “For some reason, the last couple of years we’ve been seeing a lot of diapers near Central Avenue and Dainty, so we want to try to figure out why that keeps happening,” she said.
An effort to work with local retailers, whose shopping carts are commonly found in the creek, is another possibility. Last year the Friends found 26 carts, and this year’s number appears to be similar, said Burgis.
For MacKenzie Govaeu, however, the effort was more about the little stuff.
“I’m getting all the small pieces the first people missed,” MacKenzie said as she waded through the creek under the Central Avenue bridge. MacKenzie was helping as part of the Friends of Rachel club from Heritage High School, one of many clubs and service organizations that helped.
“We had lots of people helping with the little stuff, and groups like Boy Scout Troop 90 to help with the big stuff,” Burgis said.
For Girl Scout Troop 32354, it was a team effort by people big and little.
“We had the girls for eyes, and the dads for muscle,” said Troop Leader Danielle Moran. The team found seven tires and a dresser just upstream from Creekside Park.
Burgis said that she hopes to expand the effort next year to cover the Big Break area in Oakley, and the upper portion of the creek near Clayton.