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Volunteers clean the Saugus River for Earth Day

The view of the Saugus River from Stocker Field on Tuesday, September 2. Item Photo. (Angela Owens)

SAUGUS — Digging out and clipping away invasive plants may be an undesirable way to spend a Saturday morning but volunteer Bob Walsh seemed to be in his element.
“It’s sort of a selfish thing for me,” he said. “I love to get outside, enjoy the nature, and volunteer to things like this.”

Walsh was just one of dozens of volunteers working with the Saugus River Watershed Council, Lynn Conservation Commission, and Bike to the Sea groups this Earth Day to clean up the areas around the Saugus River and Marshview Park.

“It’s a way of life for us not really just a day,” said former Saugus River Watershed Council program director Joan LeBlanc.

LeBlanc recalled the history of the area and how it has been the spot for cleanups in the past.

“This site has a lot of historic importance to us,” she said. “It’s a big difference from when it was practically a dumping ground.”

Bike to the Sea, a non-profit whose mission since 1993 has been to create a trail free of cars from the Malden/Everett area to the beaches in Revere, Lynn and Nahant, also came in strong numbers for the cleanup.

“It’s great to get out here and continue our mission,” board member Janet Green said.

Pushing a wheelbarrow and spreading mulch and collecting sticks and branches was LeBlanc’s husband Bion Pike, with their small dog Rosie close by.

“We couldn’t leave her home alone for six hours so she gets to participate today,” he said.

Not all the sticks were thrown in the dumpster. Tanya Amato and a group from Towards Inclusive Living and Learning in Chelsea, an organization that offers programs to meet the needs of individuals and their families of all ages with disabilities, picked out some branches to be used for their art.

“These are perfect and dry and ready for us to use and wrap with yarn,” she said.

“This is one of the best turnouts I’ve ever seen for us,” Pike said.

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