“Mike, sending you and your team a note of thanks for the excellent work you have done. Pattie and I drove to Culpeper the other day via Rapidan and the river and riverbanks are pristine. Natural beauty restored! Great work and thanks again.“
– Tim Freeman
“Hello, my name is Michael Klackle. I am a full time student at Germanna Community College. Living in Virginia was very interesting during the past summer. Born and raised on the west coast, I wasn’t familiar with the scenery in Virginia, until I became a StreamSweeper. Being a full time student, I took advantage of my previous summers to work as much as my employers would allow. My days working seemed pointless and I lost motivation before mid-summer came around, so I continued my search for a job that was internally rewarding. I received an email from the green club at my school talking about a summer job opportunity with StreamSweepers, I seized my opportunity.
I wanted to work for StreamSweepers because it was a job that allowed me to be outside with nature, I wanted to make an impact. There was a massive difference of what I wanted to get out of the job and what I actually got out of it. I became more aware of my surroundings, because I know more about ecology through the training I received. I’ve had experiences that made me a better team player as well as a better leader. There were issued and problems that we faced everyday on the job, but working with Mike and Debbie, it was a group effort. I, as well as my input, was respected. I continue to tell people the fun and exciting adventures while working with StreamSweepers. I challenge other students as well as friends about this opportunity that is available during the summer. I want everyone to have the same opportunity as I did. Come hang out with us on the river.
I was very fortunate to be a part of the StreamSweeper 2015 project. I would say, it was the highlight of my summer. I can’t wait for what is to come for StreamSweepers 2016.“
– Mac Klackle (2015/2016 Sweeper)
“…over the course of one season I was able to provide more beautiful, productive, and sustainable waterways for seasons to come, and was given the opportunity to season myself to life’s obstacles, all of which I’m now confident I can overcome.”
-Kira Lander (2015/2016 Sweeper, 2019 Clinch On-water Manager, current Mid-Atlantic Program Manager)
“The purpose of StreamSweepers is simple in concept, however it’s much more strenuous and tedious when undertaking the job of “cleaning and assessing the river”. StreamSweeper members first undergo a week of training which includes basic wilderness first aid training, invasive identification training, GPS instruction, as well as canoe instruction, tools which all StreamSweepers need to have in order to have a safe and successful summer. Once trained, teams of three to five sweepers would go out each week with a goal of cleaning a certain section of the river (generally between two to five miles of river daily).
“Sweepers would convene at a predetermined location each morning, then figure out logistics: what cars were needed at the canoe take-out, how many people would be needed for unloading canoes from the trailer and into the river, who was responsible for taking the water sample at the put-in and marking it in the GPS etc. Each day would bring with it a new complication logistically, such as someone calling in sick, or a car breaking down, either way the process of just getting set-up for the day and making sure all bases were covered to ensure safety of the sweepers was never an easy process. A water sample was taken at the canoe put-in each day, and marked with a Garmin GPS unit, these samples were then given to the National Cancer Institute who is performing tests on these water samples for presence of endocrine-mimicking compounds. Once the logistics of the day were handled cleaning of the river could commence.
“Generally, each Sweeper would handle their own 16 to 17 foot canoe down the river, with each Sweeper covering a certain section of the river (river right, river middle, river left etc.) scanning for trash and tires on the bottom of the river or riverbanks. When an item of trash was located, depending on the size, either a few crew members would assist, or the whole team, for instance a large tractor tire would generally require all hands on deck (one person holding canoes, a couple people digging sediment out of the tire, and a couple lifting the tire with 4 foot long steel “digging” bars).
“Occasionally items are found on the river that are either too big to lift and float downriver with a canoe, or are too hazardous or risky to attempt to remove from the river. Items such as these, such as a washing machine, must be marked with a GPS unit and with the help of Dominion Power will be removed later on when the proper machinery is available. The most commonly found item on the rivers were tires, ranging from small all-terrain vehicle tires up to tractor tires (some of which weigh upwards of 800 lbs.), and each team of Sweepers would find anywhere between 5 to 50 tires daily. At the end of each day, once the take-out was reached, trash was then unloaded from the canoes and into the boat trailer and then to the dump. Again, this may sound like an easy task, however the take-outs used by the Sweepers aren’t public access points, and sometimes required canoes and trash to be shuttled hundreds of feet (at times uphill) to the nearest location that the truck and trailer could fit.”
-Jack Murray (2016 Sweeper)
“StreamSweepers has been a big part of my life ever since I joined the team almost two years ago. It’s given me my first real job as well as the experience that comes along with that. It’s also given me friends and memories that I will cherish forever. And while it’s not only been a job for me, it has also been a project that I can support knowing that it serves our local communities in a positive way. StreamSweepers is a unique kind of program that not offers a helpful service but also works to improve the environment around us and help foster stable and sustainable ecosystems. I can’t emphasize how much the knowledge that the work I was doing with StreamSweepers was helping improve our community has made being a part of the project so fulfilling. I hope to be a part of this great project and to continue serving the needs of our communities for as long as I can.“
– Griffin Rice ( 2013 Sweeper, 2014 River Analyst)
“Hi StreamSweeper friends! I am delighted to tell you that the membership of the Rapidan Foundation enthusiastically supported a donation to your cause! I know every little bit helps. Thanks for all you do.”
-Cynthia DeCanio, (former) Rapidan Foundation President
“Buzz, thank you for all of your hard work. Preserving our waters is so critical. People really forget how important it is. Our son, Franklin helped last year. He really enjoyed and it was a great experience for him.”
-Caroline and Ted Marrs