A trip to Rock Run Rookery Preserve in Joliet can often be an eye-opening experience into the amount of plastic that is littering local waterways, but thanks to the efforts of a small army of volunteers, the preserve is looking quite amazing right now.
The River Shoreline Cleanup event on Saturday, April 27 brought out some hardy souls for the painstaking task of picking up trash — mostly small bits of plastic — all along the shoreline.
Rock Run Rookery Preserve is unique among the District's preserves in that much of the garbage seen along the shoreline comes from the Des Plaines River.
"When the Des Plaines River floods, the rookery floods," said Erin Ward, an interpretive naturalist at the District's Four Rivers Environmental Education Center. "Some of the trash in the river flows into the rookery during flooding periods, and then the water recedes and trash is left behind."
UPCOMING VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
Plastic floats and can travel great distances, and complicating the issue further is that plastic never goes away. It merely breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.
On Saturday, pieces big and small were removed from the preserve, enough to fill 10 large garbage bags.
Take a look at the remarkable transformation.
Move the slider below on the interactive photo.
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