Our annual “Clean Yer Creek” event consists of volunteers pulling garbage out of local creeks and planting trees along the creek beds. The aim is to protect the water quality of Lake Superior and enhance our local ecosystem. Organized by local businesses and spearheaded by Loll Designs, the plan is to continue to grow this event by bringing in more businesses and expand the clean up to multiple creeks throughout our county. The aim is to widen the scope of improvement in our local watershed, and also bring greater awareness to the importance of environmental stewardship to our employees and our community.
Timing our annual Clean Yer Creek event is always a challenge, and Duluth certainly kept us on our toes this year as we experienced some intense late spring, snow and ice storms. Our original date of April 28th got postponed as the creeks were too high and the ground still too cold. We rallied around a new date of June 2nd, but again we were faced with inclement weather. Nevertheless, 87 volunteers braved the hard, sometimes sideways rain, and set out to clean up and plant amongst Keene, Miller, and Chester creeks.
This year we have brought in our city’s forester and Levy Tree Care to provide expertise on the size and variety that will be optimal for our region. Our aim is to ensure they are planted in regions that can address erosion and climate changes, and that they receive the correct protection to sustain their survival. In previous years, we had planted larger trees, but this year given the guidance we received we decided that planting seedlings would be more advantageous. In larger trees the root system is more complex, requiring more technical work, and the success rate isn’t necessarily that great. With smaller trees, we decided we would be able plant a much great volume, get into more remote places, and have a much better success rate. Plus it would be easier for the kiddos to give a hand. So, throughout Chester, Keene, and Miller Creeks, we planted a mixture of white pine, white spruce, and cedar, planting 990 seedlings in total. Working with the city forester, we also obtained stakes, fencing, and the appropriate tools to ensure the trees are given the best chance for survival.
Another aspect we added this year, was a fall follow up on our trees. A small group of us hunted out the white pine trees we planted earlier in the spring to bud cap them. This was simply stapling paper to the top to prevent deer from nibbling on them over the winter. We also adjusted and straightened tree stakes. It’s not so simple as just sticking trees in the ground, and we are pleased to add this component to safeguard their success against animals and support them to better serve their purpose in the ecosystem.
Seeking to align with the sustainability mission of the event, each year instead of using plastic bags, grain bags from a local brewery are reused to collect the garbage. Additionally Duluth City Parks partners with us for the event, and any items that can be recycled, like metal shrapnel, bikes, tires, etc are taken to the recycling facility.
Keene: 640 lbs + misc items: 3 tires, 2 shopping carts, 2 bikes, 2 TV’s, metal shrapnel
Miller: 100 lbs + misc items: Table top, gutter tubing, bottled chemicals
Chester: 200 lbs + misc items: Construction debris, light fixture
+ 200 lbs from transfer station
Total 1140 lbs of trash collected
To further encourage participation and foster a sense of community, Duluth Grill donates food and Bent Paddle Brewing donates event space so volunteers can convene and share results after the event.
“Clean Yer Creek” supports our company mission “to enhance the planet and people in everything we do.” By rallying a cohesive group of local businesses and their employees to directly improve their region, this event demonstrates Loll’s continued commitment to the environment. Long term goals are to expand the scope, adding additional creeks and therefore diverting more trash from entering Lake Superior and our water system. We have received the attention of more businesses who would like to help us expand the event, and a fourth creek will be added to the cleanup in 2019. With more businesses and more volunteers, we will be able to collect more waste from the creeks and be able to get more trees in the ground. This in turn will help bring greater awareness to the issue of clean water and the importance of protecting the Lake Superior watershed.
We are so appreciate of the support we get from our community to make this event happen every year. They really enhance the planning process and experience for our volunteers, so with that, a huge thanks to the list of sponsors below!
Apex– Fidiciuary agent
Beaners– coffee for registration
Bent Paddle– grain bags, event space, and beer
Chester Bowl– core organizer
Duluth Grill– muffins for registration and discounted taco bar
Duluth Parks– core organizer, supplies, trash hauling, tree expertise
Hartels– garbage containers
Involta– core organizer
Levy Tree Care– tree planting expertise
Loll Designs– core organizer, marketing materials
JS Print Group– discounted tees
Twin Ports Trailer Trash– trash hauling
Monetary Donations- (for tees, trees, and food!)