For the 15th year in a row, Lodi citizens will pitch in to help clean up the Lodi Lake Park area on Sept. 16.
Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. at the Lodi Lake Park Discovery Center, located at 1101 W. Turner Road. The cleanup itself will begin at 9 a.m., with teams of 10 to 15 people picking up trash at different sections, or “reaches,” of the park. Volunteers will then sort and record the trash and debris found, and enter a statewide contest for the most unusual item found.
Lodi has won twice in the past 14 years, according to Lodi Public Works Watershed Program Coordinator Kathy Grant, who has organized the cleanup since its inception.
The first win came when volunteers found an unscratched lottery ticket worth $20, and the second involved a counterfeit Gucci purse that contained a female crayfish with a clutch of eggs under her tail, Grant said. Each victory came with a $100 prize from the State of California. 2015 marked the highest number of volunteers at 350 students, parents, service clubs and various other groups and individuals.
Other unusual items pulled from the water include flat screen TVs, popped inflatable rafts, hashish pipes and mattresses, as well as food cans and old clothing from homeless encampments. More common items include plastic bags, food wrappers and cigarette butts.
In 2016, volunteers found 2,908 cigarette butts, 641 food wrappers, 442 plastic bottle caps and 295 metal bottle caps. 1,200 pounds of trash were collected in 2015, the largest amount in the cleanup’s history according to Grant, who said that the first annual cleanup netted 1,000 pounds.
Grant started the cleanup in 2002 after being challenged by Susan Mora-Loyko, Stockton’s stormwater coordinator. Starbucks offered to supply coffee for the volunteers, and has been a sponsor ever since. Other sponsors include Walmart, REI and the Blue Diamond Almond Growers, as well as the California History Foundation, The City of Stockton and the Port of Stockton.
Volunteers can register online at www.sjcleanwater.org, and all must bring a completed liability release form signed by an adult, available on the front page of the City of Lodi’s website at www.lodi.gov.
For more information, contact Kathy Grant by phone at 209-333-6800 ext. 2317 or by email at email@example.com.