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Volunteers needed to clean up Lodi Lake and the Mokelumne River

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Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 11:46 am, Sat Sep 17, 2011.

Hundreds of people will head to Lodi Lake this Saturday armed with gloves and trash bags to take part in the city's 9th annual Coastal Cleanup Day.

Volunteers will pick up everything from cigarette butts to plastic bags to appliances in an attempt to clean up not only the lake and the Mokelumne River, but also the Pacific Ocean, where most of the trash eventually ends up.

Studies show that 80 percent of the items in Pacific trash patches come from inland, said Kathy Grant, the city's watershed education coordinator.

"It's coming from the waterways. It's a big problem, and we are responsible for it," Grant said.

The event has an extra boost this year thanks to a new crop of volunteers, Grant said.

The city has teamed up with REI in Stockton to provide a bike valet and bike parade. Headwaters Kayak Shop is donating 10 to 15 kayaks for cleanup on the Mokelumne River. There will also be free bagels from Panera Bakery for the first time and free coffee from Starbucks, who is also sending a team of volunteers.

"They are not just sending over their coffee, they want their employees to actually volunteer," Grant said.

One of the goals this year is to get the volunteers involved in other cleanups throughout the year, said Ashley Lee, an outreach specialist for REI in Stockton.

"Once people come to an event and see 400 other people who are concerned about the environment and the resources we have, they will say, 'I want to help out more,'" Lee said.

The city still needs volunteers to come help with the cleanup effort.

Below is all of the information that you need to know about the event:

  • When and where: The event will go from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Volunteers will meet at the Lodi Lake Park Discovery Center at 1101 W. Turner Road.
  • Ditch the car and grab your bike: For the first time, there will be a bike parade to the cleanup and a bike valet once residents reach the park.

The San Joaquin Bike Coalition will lead the parade from Lodi Bike Cafe, 605 W. Kettleman Lane, at 7:30 a.m. Volunteers are asked to meet at the bike store then everyone will bike the 20 to 30 minutes to Lodi Lake.

The parade is a way to encourage people to be environmentally conscious while having fun, Lee said.

"The idea behind the bike parade is to get people excited and kind of pre-game before doing community service. ... The less we drive and the more we bike, the less that goes into our water," she said.

Once people arrive at the event, they can then check in their bike with the REI employees. Volunteers need to bring their own bike locks.

Grant also got special certificates printed up for students because several teachers at local schools are giving extra credit if their students ride to and participate in the cleanup.

"If you show up on your bike and you clean up, there is no negative impact, no carbon footprint," Grant said.

  • Recycling electronics: For the second year, Waste Management will offer to recycle electronics. Last year, they collected three pallets of old computers, microwave ovens and TVs.
  • How does it work? Volunteers are divided into 10- to 12-person teams and are then assigned to clean a certain portion of the lake and the park.

Once the volunteers gather the trash, the teams sort and record it to pass on the information to The Ocean Conservancy's international database.

  • What do you need to bring? Volunteers need to wear work clothes, closed-toe shoes, gloves, sunblock and hats. Bring a reusable water bottle and your own bucket.

Everyone needs to sign a liability waiver beforehand. Volunteers under the age of 18 also need to have their parents sign the forms.

The city of Lodi and the San Joaquin County Public Works will provide gloves, bags, grapplers and refreshments.

The waivers are available on the city of Lodi's website, www.lodi.gov; at the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services office, 125 N. Stockton St.; or by contacting Kathy Grant at kgrant@lodi.gov. Forms will also be available the day of the event.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodi news.com or read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/city_buzz.

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