CLEANUP Young volunteers track down and capture trash along the railroad tracks during last year’s Foss Creek Clean-up, which takes place on Sept. 23 this fall.

Healdsburg’s Foss Creek Clean-up will take place Saturday morning, Sept. 23, with the Community Center serving as the base of operations. Since 2005, the annual clean-up event has been an opportunity for residents to participate in the maintenance and protection of the creek by removing trash and debris from Foss Creek.

Foss Creek is a tributary of the Russian River that runs north-south through town. It serves as a home to several species, including steelhead trout protected by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The creek also funnels storm water runoff from the city to the Russian River.

Volunteers will gather in the south parking lot at the Community Center (1557 Healdsburg Ave.) from 8:30 to 9am, where they will sign up and be divided into five groups. An assortment of pastries (provided by Healdsburg Sunrise Rotary) will be available. 

Mayor Ariel Kelley will give opening remarks, followed by a safety talk from a fire official. Then each group will go to one of five assigned spots along Foss Creek, all within walking distance from the Community Center. 

An assigned team leader will help oversee the process and, wearing gloves and using litter pick-up grabbers, volunteers will spend approximately two hours gathering trash of every description and placing it into trash bags. About 75 people participate each year, so teams are usually between 12 -20 in size.

At approximately 11am, each group will place their bags into the back of trucks, to be transported to a large dumpster, which will later be picked up by Recology.

Volunteers return to the Community Center to eat lunch (provided by Healdsburg Kiwanis) and for the “award” ceremony. As well as breakfast and lunch, volunteers who need one will receive a t-shirt to commemorate their participation. 

The main award will be the “Crud Cup,” which will be passed on to whichever of the five teams collects the most trash. Last year, a Healdsburg High group was the winning team. 

Additionally, each team leader nominates one or two individuals for categories such as most litter gathered, most enthusiastic volunteer or most interesting item found. The names are put in the Crud Cup, and Kelley will draw four of them, to be awarded gift certificates of about $25 value to Noble Folk, Mr. Moon’s and the Toy Chest. 

For more information, contact project manager Michael Harrington at [email protected].

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Christian Kallen has called Healdsburg home for over 30 years. A former travel writer and web producer, he has worked with Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and other media companies, usually in an editorial capacity. He started reporting locally in 2008, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.


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