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Cleaning Herndon’s Streams and Paths

Herndon Environmental Network hosts first group cleanup.

From left, Claire Jonas, 10 and Meg Anderson, 9, pick up trash along a stream bed near downtown Herndon Friday, April 6.

From left, Claire Jonas, 10 and Meg Anderson, 9, pick up trash along a stream bed near downtown Herndon Friday, April 6. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

— Charlotte Anderson, 12, knew there would be plenty to pick up while picking up trash along the stream in downtown Herndon, near the Fortnightly Library. But Anderson didn’t expect the first thing found to be a shopping cart, considering the site is almost a mile away from the closest grocery store.

Anderson was one of a dozen members of the newly formed Herndon Environmental Network, which was founded by local citizens to create local and global awareness through education, initiatives and advocacy.

"We’re a new group, so this was our first big cleanup event," said Carlin Anderson, president of the group. "Hopefully as we continue to grow, we can have more events like this with a bigger scope."

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Charlotte Anderson, 12, picks up a shopping cart out of a stream in Herndon, part of the Herndon Environmental Network’s cleanup April 6.

The group gathered at the library at about 1 p.m. Friday, April 6 and their efforts were bolstered by several students who were out on spring break. They quickly made their way up the stream bed and also cleaned the walking path that runs from Center Street to Branch Drive.

They recycled the cans, plastic and aluminum bottles and threw out the trash, which turned out to have more variety than the volunteers thought.

"We expected mostly plastic and cans, but there was a lot of gross stuff," said Claire Jonas, 10. "But there were bottles of things like oil, and that stuff was just spilling into the water, making it dirty."

Car parts, trash bags, backpacks and even an intact go kart were tangled in the brush along the path. One group even spent time digging up a collection of buried plastic containers and bottle caps.

"We found a car part, and there was a whole lot of trash in the stream," said Meg Anderson, 9. "I’m sure all this stuff around isn’t doing anything but hurting animals and making the path and stream look ugly."

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Members of the Herndon Environmental Network after their April 6 cleanup of a stream in downtown Herndon.

Volunteers, especially the younger ones, followed the stream all the way to Park Avenue.

"I think the children were the most adventurous, because they didn’t seem too concerned about getting wet," Carlin Anderson said.

The cleaners were even able to use rakes to pick up long buried trash caught in the stream bed.

"I think the go kart was the strangest thing we found, but there was plenty to go around," said Miles Regan, 11. "I just stayed mostly around the trees, and I found a lot of trash, and looking at the bags we filled, it looks like it was everywhere."

More information on the Herndon Environmental Network, including how to join and a calendar of future events, can be found at www.herndonenvironment.com.