Over the past 11 weekends, SYRCL’s 28 volunteer River Ambassadors and four River Captains posted at four popular Yuba River crossings (49, Bridgeport, Edwards and Purdon) have made nearly 4,000 one-on-one contacts with Yuba visitors. During each conversation, the Ambassadors work to educate the public about keeping the river clean, healthy and safe.
River Ambassadors on track to meet 2013 program goals
“We are confident we will meet our goal of talking with over 5,000 visitors,” said Andrew Collins-Anderson, SYRCL’s Stewardship Coordinator. “To date, we have educated 3,743 Yuba visitors; removed 5,715 pieces of trash and dog waste; passed out over 500 dog waste bags and 80 trash bags; and spent more than 700 hours on the Yuba.”
River Captains Share their Remarkable Experiences on the Yuba
River Captains and Ambassadors alike come back to the office with tales of inspiration and hardship as they work directly with the public at the Yuba. The Ambassadors have found that their presence on the Yuba seems to inspire others to care for the Yuba as well. “One weekend, we handed out oversize trash bags as we had run out of the smaller ones,” River Captain Alanna McDermott reminisced. “But that didn’t stop people from returning with these large bags completely full of trash they had picked up along the river. I am regularly inspired by visitors who spent a significant portion of their visit to the Yuba picking up trash along with our River Ambassadors.”
SYRCL’s returning River Captain, Terra Nyssa, shares what inspires her about the program. “As a River Captain, I love talking to folks about the Yuba and seeing how excited they get too about caring for the river. People are always saying how much they appreciate the program. For example, one guy from Yuba City told me, ‘Can you come down to Yuba County and do what you are doing here at Bridgeport? We need this everywhere.’ Well, that inspires me!”
People have expressed the need for this type of program across the watershed from the Little Town of Washington to Yuba City, and SYRCL hopes to spread this work far and wide throughout the watershed.
Responding to River Emergencies
Not all experiences have been positive, but the River Ambassadors have been there ready to help. Over the course of the summer River Ambassadors have helped with three emergency accidents on the Yuba, and supported countless others by providing information, water, minor first aid and a friendly ear.
Two Programs, One Goal: Keep the Yuba River Clean, Healthy and Safe
The River Ambassador program was born out of SYRCL’s Annual Yuba River Cleanup and Restoration Day. This year the Cleanup is on Saturday, September 21st. This event coordinates hundreds of volunteers at over 35 sites in the Yuba watershed to remove thousands of pounds of trash and recycling with the support of 18 agencies and many local businesses. In the past 15 years of the Cleanup, volunteers have removed over 140,000 pounds of trash and recycling from the Yuba watershed.
SYRCL encourages community members to register to volunteer for the Cleanup. Hurry as the popular sites tend to fill up fast.
New this year: the Clean-a-thon!
The River Ambassador program and the River Cleanup have real costs – and we need the community’s help to keep them going. This year we have created a new “Clean-a-thon” so that Yuba River lovers can ask their friends and family to sponsor their day cleaning up the river. All funds raised will support the Annual Cleanup, the River Ambassadors and SYRCL’s work to protect and restore the Yuba River year-round.
River Ambassadors will be on the Yuba for two more weekends this summer. Say hello if you see them at your favorite crossing. If you have any questions about the Cleanup or River Ambassador program, please contact Andrew Collins-Anderson, Stewardship Coordinator, at (530) 265-5961 x209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.