Volunteers made an unconventional attempt at cleaning up the James River by plunging into its 36-degree waters on Jan. 30.
Adults brought their children and spent the day in the James River Park System and Historic Tredegar, with efforts beginning at 10 a.m. with 400 total participants picking up trash alongside the banks of the James River. Those who raised at least $75 were permitted to join the plunge.
Shiver in the River is a fundraising event for Keep Virginia Beautiful, done in effort to raise awareness about programs that support litter prevention, community outreach, education, recycling and beautification for Richmond and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Plastic water bottles, beer bottles, boxes and even a mattress were retrieved during the clean up, but the most common piece of trash found were cigarettes butts.
The organization, which was founded in 1953, has hosted numerous cleanups throughout the city including places like Monroe Park and Great Shiplock Park.
The environmental organization aims to be a statewide leader for conservation, providing a framework for improved communication and collaboration with citizens by linking them to volunteer opportunities and information about five impact areas: litter prevention, recycling, waste reduction, beautification and education.
This year, Keep Virginia Beautiful added a 5K run/walk following the cleanup.
“The run was very successful,” Watson said. “We were hoping to get 150-200 racers, we got 350. We’re real pleased with the turnout.”
Amongst those people were first-year-participant David Copen. Copen works for an environmental consulting firm and said the event seemed fitting for his line work.
“I created a fundraising page and said if you donate to the cause, I’ll do it,” Copen said. “And unfortunately, I made the goal.”
Despite the bitterly cold temperatures, Copen said he’ll probably participate in the river jump again next year.
Staff Writer, Sophia Belletti
Sophia is a sophomore print/online journalism major with a minor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. She enjoys writing about current events and sports and hopes to one day be a sports reporter, covering soccer, basketball and baseball. You can usually find Sophia drinking way too much coffee and laughing at her own jokes. // Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn