FARMINGTON HILLS — For nearly the last 30 years, volunteers have laced up their shoes, pulled on their gloves and gotten down to work helping rescue the Rouge River.
During the Rouge Rescue event 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. May 17 at Heritage Park, 24915 Farmington Road, volunteers will get a chance to clean up woody debris and invasive plants, plant trees and native wildflowers, pick up neighborhood litter, and perform storm drain decaling, in addition to stream cleanup projects, according to a press release.
The Friends of the Rouge, a local nonprofit organization that works to promote the restoration and stewardship of the Rouge River ecosystem, will host the event.
Volunteer work sites are organized across the Rouge River watershed on the day, and activities may vary by site.
Farmington Hills Nature Center Supervisor Ashlie Smith said volunteers at Heritage Park have done Rouge rescue work for quite a few years.
“We do multiple activities, depending on the need of the park and what is going to benefit the Rouge River,” Smith said. “It should be a pretty fun day.”
The Rouge River, which runs along Heritage Park, has four main branches — the Main, Upper, Middle and Lower — that cover 126 miles. The watershed communities are home to nearly 1.35 million people, according to www.therouge.org.
With more than 20 work sites May 17 throughout Dearborn, Detroit, Beverly Hills, Canton and Southfield, Cyndi Ross, Friends of the Rouge River Restoration Program manager, said she hopes volunteers make a connection with the river beyond cleaning it up.
“You can’t care for something you don’t know and love,” Ross said. “People are recognizing that it is a natural jewel in southeastern Michigan, to provide a place for us to canoe and kayak. There are many reasons to be involved in the Rouge Rescue.”
The first 50 participants to arrive and sign in outside the Heritage Park Visitor’s Center will receive a free Rouge Rescue T-shirt, and all participants will enjoy a free picnic lunch. Volunteers are encouraged to wear long pants and long sleeves, as well as sturdy work boots.
For more information or to preregister, call the Division of Public Works at (248) 871-2850 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For a listing of other Rouge Rescue sites, call the Friends of the Rouge at (313) 792-9900 or visit www.therouge.org.
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