VALDOSTA — Area residents have a chance to make a positive impact on the environment Oct. 4.

The 17th Annual River Cleanup will focus on four rivers in the area as part of a statewide campaign to clean and preserve Georgia’s 70,150 miles of rivers and streams.

The River Cleanup is sponsored by Keep Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful and will also be a part of Hands on Georgia Day and Rivers Alive.

This is the fourth year for the event in Lowndes County.

“Last year, about 100 volunteers came out to help clean the Little and Alapaha rivers and removed 5.52 tons of litter, debris and eight tires,” said H. Aaron Strickland, executive director of Keep Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful in a prepared statement. “This year we will be tackling four sites. Some are worse than others, so we want to make sure that each site has the number of volunteers needed.”

The location and names of the rivers will not be revealed until the day of the event, except to those who register in advance.

Volunteers in the Valdosta/Lowndes County area will begin registration at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 4. In an effort to equally distribute volunteers between the four sites, volunteers are asked to call in advance to register and receive a river assignment.

Some 75 to 100 volunteers are needed. Several groups and organizations have already committed to the various cleanup sites.

All ages can participate, but children under 10 will be assigned to trail areas. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Youth groups must have group leaders.

Volunteers will be required to sign participation waivers and are asked to bring work gloves, shoes or boots, a trash poker or tongs and an emergency phone number.

Volunteers will receive a free Rivers Alive T-shirt.

Interested volunteers can call Strickland at Keep Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful prior to Oct. 4 at 671-2497 or 671-2499. Those who prefer to register on the day of the cleanup must call Strickland on his cell phone that morning at 251-2956 to receive a river assignment.

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