Premier Mushrooms Plans Annual River Cleanup – Saturday, Sept. 19

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“For the past three years  community volunteers and Premier Mushrooms Inc. employees have join together in a noble effort to clean Colusa’s Greenbelt running along the Sacramento River,” said Premier’s sustainability coordinator Kevin Foley.

As in past years; Central Valley Gas Storage is once again co-sponsoring the event with the mushroom growers. Other local sponsors and supporters include Steelhead Lodge, Net Impact Sacramento and River Partners, Tacos El Amigo, Ink’d Up and Stitched Out and Recology.

Each year, on the third Saturday in September, people join together at sites all over California to take part in the State’s largest volunteer event, California’s Coastal Cleanup Day. In 2012, over 65,000 volunteers removed almost 770,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California’s beaches, lakes, and waterways. Families, friends, coworkers, scout troops, school groups, service clubs, and individuals come together to celebrate and share their appreciation of California’s fabulous coast and waterways. The event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by the Ocean Conservancy, which is the largest volunteer event on the planet.

The Colusa event has grown each year in both volunteer numbers as well as debris poundage collected.

Foley said it is very rewarding to see the volunteerism and the growth of the program here in Colusa. The first year only about 20 volunteers collected 70 pounds of debris.  In the second year there were 30 volunteers collecting 700 pounds of debris and last year the numbers jumped dramatically to included 50 volunteers collecting 1,600 pounds.

They didn’t quite meet their goal of 100 volunteers collecting 2000 pounds last year, but Foley said they hope to see those numbers with this year’s efforts.

“We know where to look now,” said Foley. This year’s efforts will once again focus on areas where people tend to dump larger items as well as the typical paper trash dumping.

In past years the volunteers have hauled away items like washing machine shells, tires, household items, clothing, and other items as well as typical paper, metal and tin can debris.

“The community effort was developed as a result of Premier Mushroom’s desire to align its own sustainability goals with those of the local community. Given Colusa’s close proximity to the Sacramento River, it was decided that this would be where we’d focus our efforts,” said Foley. “The state recreation area also has a rich riparian forest that is home to a variety of fish, birds, mammals and other wildlife. It was the perfect intersection of Community, Environment and Business.”

The Colusa project was initially created as a local effort, but then the group learned that it coincided with California’s statewide clean-up. After a quick phone call to the coastal commission, Colusa officially became the 55th of 58 counties to participate in the statewide event. “Therefore, the Colusa clean-up would henceforth be part of a much larger volunteer effort taking place all around the globe,” said Foley.

This year’s event will kick-off with a brief presentation by River Partners who has been doing restoration work along the Sacramento River for several years. The clean-up will begin following the presentation.

At the conclusion of the clean-up volunteers will be hosted to a barbecue lunch.  During the lunch, winners of the competitions will be announced and prizes awarded.

For more information contact Kevin Foley @ kfoley@premiermushrooms.com. Groups and individuals planning to attend are asked to provide an approximate number of participants by emailing Foley at the above email or Kathy Craigo at kcraigo66@hotmail.com.

In previous years a tour of Premier Mushrooms Inc. farm was held prior to the cleanup. The tour will not be available this year due to personnel/space restrictions. Instead, the plan is to expand the scope of the clean-up and will focus efforts where it’s needed most; along the river.

Individuals or groups interested in farm tours can still sign-up via Premier Mushroom’s website.

The clean-up day schedule is as follows:

  • 9 am – 9:15 am – Meet at the Colusa State Park for sign-in. (There is a “hard start time” of 9:30 am. Please don’t arrive at 9:30 am as sign-in’s will be closed at that time and the day’s activities will begin).
  • 9:30 am – River Ecology and Nature Walk lead by a conservation biologist.
  • 10 am – 11:30 am – Clean-Up
  • 11:45 am – 1 pm – Lunch at Steelhead Lodge Bar & Grill.
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