Raritan Headwaters' Annual Stream Cleanup Gets Help from SCVTHS Environmental Club


Photo: The SCVTHS Environmental Club volunteered to clean up Peapack Creek during Raritan Headwaters 34th Annual Stream Cleanup. Pictured are (back row, l-r) Club advisor Maria Santiago, SCVTHS students Kara VanDyke of Bridgewater, Ari Franco of Hillsbor

BRIDGEWATER – On the weekend prior to Earth Day, members of the Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School (SCVTHS) Environmental Club pitched in to help remove trash from Peapack Creek in Peapack. The club was one of many groups participating in the 34th Annual Stream Cleanup sponsored by Raritan Headwaters. Over 1200 volunteers worked at 60 stream sites throughout the Upper Raritan Watershed region.

The Environmental Club at SCVTHS was formed earlier this year by student Kara VanDyke of Bridgewater with the purpose of increasing awareness of and taking action on sustainability and climate-related issues at school and in the community. The Annual Stream Cleanup was the first major event for the Club, and they used a flyer created by Graphics Communications student Ari Franco of Hillsborough to recruit volunteers.

Eight students joined club advisors Mary Kreiss-Papalski and Maria Santiago at Greenbriar Farm in Peapack. Before heading to the stream, one of the farmers spoke with the students about the importance of protecting the watershed in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Students then headed to Peapack Creek and began removing trash, finding items such as wrappers, single use items, a bracelet, and a hubcap. Other volunteers found tires, car parts, building materials, shopping carts, furniture, and a lot of plastic. As they removed the trash, Environmental Club members collected data, recording each item so Raritan Headwaters can develop a report that will be used to advocate for the protection of New Jersey’s waterways.

Ms. Kreiss-Papalski was very pleased with the turnout. "It was the students in our club who decided to do this worthy event. They all have the desire to be part of the solution to restore our piece of the planet. The future looks brighter with them leading the way!"

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