It was a sunny morning on Earth Day. My adventure buddy Natalie and I were just leaving an overnight at the museum as we scanned our map and made a route. We zipped around Milwaukee on Saturday morning delivering sample packs of Gorilly Goods to volunteers who were helping clean up the Milwaukee River Basin.
Through the four deliveries, we learned about the Milwaukee Riverkeeper Group and their mission to protect, improve and advocate for water quality, riparian wildlife habitat and sound land management in the Milwaukee, Menonmonee and Kinnickinnic River watersheds. I looked up what “riparian” was at that point to find that the Latin word “ripa” means river bank. We met site coordinators who were on hand to direct and answer questions. We witnessed piles of garbage collected and were happy to contribute a nutritious snack for the finish of their good deed.
Prior to this day, the two of us have enjoyed kayaking the rivers and exploring the riparian habitats of many streams and rivers in Wisconsin, but had yet to be introduced to the Milwaukee Riverkeeper Group. They are a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international coalition ensuring clean water and strong communities. We happen to love water –clean lakes, rivers and oceans have been the settings to many favorite times together. The Earth’s waters are a gift. It was clear this group is making a difference in the health and wellbeing of this watershed.
The non-profit has a staff of seven along with 13 board members. They, along with hundreds of trained volunteers monitor the rivers for water quality, patrol the shoreline for signs of erosion or threats of water and wildlife habitat, educate citizens to become water advocates, clean up the watersheds and advocate for funds to remove contaminants and protect our rivers.
On our Earth Day outing, we found out there were almost 50 cleanup sites with thousands of volunteers to help pick up trash. It was their 22nd year of the annual clean up. As we drove, we witnessed many people around the Milwaukee area not only cleaning up the watershed, but readying community gardens and sprucing up all corners of their neighborhood.
Gorilly Goods wants to say a big thank you to all of the volunteers who put effort and time into the cleanup and to the staff and board of Milwaukee Riverkeeper. We’re so glad to have been introduced to this group. Clean water is vital to the health of a strong community. Their work is so important and very much appreciated.
Learn more about what you can do to help at MilwaukeeRiverkeeper.org and spend some time appreciating the beautiful rivers by kayaking them this summer.