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June 17, 2013

CLEAN SWEEP: River sweep brings out hundreds in Floyd and Clark Counties

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> SOUTHERN INDIANA —

Jenny Dieterlen, project engineer with HDR Inc. in Louisville, who has helped Huff for the past few years, added the educational component is an important takeaway for those participating in the river sweep.

“I think it’s a great family experience,” she said. “I think it’s a great learning experience for younger generations. We want this to be an important thing in the future. All they know is water comes out of the sink ... we try to make this educational, too.”

A large portion of the volunteers who worked along the banks, at least at the Falls of the Ohio, were scout groups, Huff said.

A contingent of seven girls from Jeffersonville Girl Scout Troop 508 and a boy scout were among those picking up trash in the park.

Samantha Kime said she brought the group down along with Jeanne Stafford after participating in the cleanup last year.

“Whenever we go camping it’s always leave things better than you found it, so this is another way of showing them that,” Kime said. “This is a great park that we have and they love to come down.”

She added that they try and instill in the troop the importance of giving back to the community and trying to make things better.

In Floyd County, Tabitha Elble and her husband Travis help organize the river sweep. 

It started after they organized a cleanup of Silver Creek about 15 years ago. The following year they were asked to coordinate the river sweep in Floyd County and have been there since.

“The premise is to clean the whole river in one day,” Tabitha Elble said. “We’ve always been environmentally conscious. It’s something we can teach our kids. I think it does make folks who do come down here more conscientious of not throwing their garbage out [improperly]. You come down here, you clean up after somebody else [and] it’s going to make you think twice before you toss that water bottle or toss that McDonald’s cup out your window.”

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Judy Lunsford works on a lesson plan for her students with fellow teachers, Ellen Rothstein and Adam Stephens, in her classroom at Northaven Elementary in Jeffersonville Wednesday afternoon. Lunsford, a new addition to Northaven, will be teaching second grade.

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