Two days of snow force date change from March 24 to Sunday, April 15

Although the recent Nor'easter's predicted snow totals in Delaware fell shorter than expected, it was enough to cause school cancellations, business closings, and the rescheduling of an important annual cleanup.

On Thursday, March 22, the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance decided to change their annual spring cleanup from March 24 to Sunday, April 15.

Thirty years ago, the BRCA started a tradition that has helped remove countless tons of trash from Delaware and Pennsylvania roadways, relying on volunteers from throughout the region to handle the dirty work.

The weather in the prior weeks had BRCA Executive Director Jim Jordan concerned that the signs they traditionally posted couldn't be used.

While that show cleared up quickly, the weather this week forced their hand to make the change.

Jordan is justifiably concerned – 680 volunteers removed 13 tons of trash in 2017 alone, including a 30-yard dumpster filled with just tires, so the manpower is desperately needed.

“And we expand the cleanup every year. We’re covering 90 miles this year, versus 88 miles last year,” Jordan said.

Jordan noted that while the amount of garbage found each year jumps up and down, 13 tons (recovered in just under five hours) is a lot.

“It’s mostly window trash, and stuff blowing out of people’s yards,” Jordan said. “We’re not finding things like complete cars and transmission and appliances. I can’t tell you how many washing machines or refrigerators we’ve dug out over the years. Now they’ll take your old appliances away, and people aren’t throwing out whole cars these days.”

He added that while littering laws in Delaware are relatively strict, it’s not enough to discourage litterers.

“We still find a lot of people throwing trash out randomly and illegally,” Jordan said.

Jordan said the cleanup serves two purposes. While it does the job of helping clean up roadways and waterways (as Jordan puts is, “what’s in the road ends up in the stream”), it's also an educational opportunity, which is a vital part of the nonprofit watershed organization’s goals.

“We have a lot of kids out that day, and when they spend four hours picking up someone else’s trash, they’re not going to throw things out of their own windows, and they’ll discourage others from doing the same,” he said. “So it’s a real learning opportunity for today’s youths.”

While many of the cleanups sponsors have returned, bringing with them much needed dollars and manpower, he’s still concerned about reaching those much-needed community members who just want to help.

“This is a tradition for a lot of people, and it’s the 30th year, and there’s tremendous community commitment,” he said. “We just need to let them know when it’s happening.”

For more information, visit brandywineredclay.org.