When I (DG Mike) read about Lebanon Rotary Club’s river clean-up project in their newsletter, I thought it was a wonderful example of living into our 7th Area of Focus, The Environment, and our 2nd Priority in Rotary’s Action Plan, Expanding our Reach, as they collaborated with others to get the job done.  (Here’s the story.)
The Mascoma River runs from the east side of the City of Lebanon at the Enfield, NH border to the Connecticut River. In Lebanon, the Mascoma River drops quickly over rapids, passing small hydroelectric dams in the center of Lebanon on its way to West Lebanon, where it reaches the Connecticut River. The Rotary Club of Lebanon has been committed to cleaning up as much of the river that we can with the help of our partners, the City of Lebanon’s Conservation Commission, and with resources from our city’s government every other year.
From the beginning, this project has been spearheaded by Lebanon Rotarian Ernst Oidtmann who is passionate about our city’s environment and serves on the City’s Conservation Commission. He was the person who encouraged our club members to partner with the commission and the city to make a difference in our community by helping to make our river a cleaner resource.
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River Clean-ups have been happening for over a decade. The first year our volunteers were able to fill a city dump truck with tires, another with metal, and a third with trash. Interesting finds the first year were a farm tractor tire and a boiler.
We were finally able to get into the river, a year late due to the pandemic, on Saturday, September 25, 2021. Our Clean-up began with donuts, coffee, and fellowship at 8:30 AM. Teams then took off at 9 AM to cover as much of the river as the terrain and the number of volunteers would permit. Everyone was to be out of the river by 12 noon for a pizza lunch.
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This year, 30 participants with 4 Rotaractors from the Rotary Club of Hanover, NH, many members of the City of Lebanon Conservation Commission, and our City Manager and fellow Rotarian, Shaun Mulholland, took part in the clean-up. We were fortunate to have a beautiful weather day. The good news is that the river continues to be less littered than when we started this service project long ago. We collected 0.6 ton of trash, 0.12 ton of metal and only 5 tires.
My (DG Mike…again) thanks to Marilyn Bedell, Secretary, Rotary Club of Lebanon for providing this information.