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Volunteers needed for riverfront, canal cleaning

Two opportunities to help out this weekend; one also features wildlife trailer

Published: Friday, April 25, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

ROCK FALLS – It’s time to bank some goodwill along the banks, and have some fun in the process.

The Rock River Development Authority and Rock Falls Tourism invite volunteers of all ages to help with this weekend’s Hennepin Canal-Rock River spring clean-up.

This is a boots-on-the-ground cleanup of the banks and surrounding areas; no boats will be involved. Volunteers need only to dress for the occasion; trash bags and other materials will be provided.

This is the first event for a new Rock Falls Tourism initiative called Voluntourism, in which residents and visitors are invited to help beautify the community.

Voluntourism workers will meet at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Jim Arduini Boat Launch, to register and sign a liability form required by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which manages the canal.

From 10 a.m. to noon, volunteers will tackle various projects, including power washing the lock at the beginning of the canal, and staining the two pedestrian bridges between Centennial Park and the Hennepin.

Free Papa Murphy’s pizza will be provided to the Voluntourism workers from 12:30 to 1 p.m.

Then those who want to can wander over to the Days Inn at 2105 First Ave. and join forces with RRDA volunteers, who will be scooping up trash and litter along the canal from 1 to 3 p.m.

Those volunteering for the RRDA are asked to meet at 12:45 p.m. at the hotel, also to sign some forms.

A Department of Conservation wildlife trailer will be on site, and there will be door prizes, T-shirts and raffles.

Also Sunday, tourism volunteers will check in at 12:30 p.m. at the boat launch, and pick up trash from 1 to 3 p.m. along the Rock at Second Street.

The Voluntourism projects go on both days, rain or shine; Sunday is the rain day for the RRDA canal cleanup.

More information

Go to www.visitrockfalls.com to learn about the Voluntourism initiative and the weekend event.

Search for RRDA on Facebook, or contact its president, James Marks, at 815-590-0854 or JamesMarks01@hotmail.com for more information on the RRDA cleanup, or on the volunteer organization, the mission of which is to care for the canal and other local natural resources.

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