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Spring cleaning

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This time of year, Chatham County's Haw River hosts blooming trout lilies, nesting water birds and many other species of flora and fauna--along with plenty of nature-lovers who appreciate them. But unfortunately, some of us homo sapiens treat the Haw like our personal dump, which brings about another rite of spring: the annual river clean-up. On March 12, for the 15th year in a row, volunteers hauled garbage from the Haw's waters and banks. Working on foot and in canoes, from the I-85 bridge in Graham all the way to Jordan Lake, they collected 225 bags of litter, 54 tires and an eclectic assortment of "weird trash."

An excerpt from the list:
vending machine
500 feet of plastic sheeting
Chevrolet bumper
car transmission
14 rims
hot-water heater
TV
lawn mower motor
propane tank
kitchen sink
fire hose
boxer shorts
dental x-ray
secret message in a pill bottle

If you're wondering what's so great about this river that 160 volunteers would spend their Saturday picking up somebody else's garbage, now's the time to find out. The Haw River Festival celebrates with environmental education, music, food and Clyde Jones' critters on May 7, from 1-6 p.m. at the Old Bynum Bridge. For details, see www.hawriver.org.

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