By LYDIA BERGLAR
The Dade County 4-H Club is joining Rivers Alive to sponsor the annual creek clean-up project on Nov. 19 from 10 am to noon. Volunteers will clean up trash along Lookout Creek, meeting at Sitton’s Mill off of Sells Lane. All are welcome to join.
Rivers Alive sponsors projects across the state to preserve Georgia water resources, and the local 4-H club works with the state-wide project each year. According to Laura Beth Cunningham (4-H educator), the project was put on hold during COVID-19, but the annual event had been around for many years previously.
According to Stephen Bontekoe, executive director of Limestone Valley RC&D, “Historically, it’s a lot of 4-H students, but we welcome anyone from the community. It’s basically a walk along the creek and a time to chat with your neighbors and improve the community.”
Bontekoe noted that Limestone Valley RC&D is focused on “improving the lives of North Georgians by improving the built and natural environment. We’re doing septic tank repairs and a Lookout Creek watershed project right now.”
In addition to water-related projects, the organization plants trees, helps people with agricultural projects, and more.
This year, two 4-H students stepped up to assist Cunningham and Bontekoe in promoting this event.
Clay Allman, a sophomore at Dade County High School, and Braxton Wood, an 8th grade homeschooler, took leadership of the project by spreading the word and recruiting friends, and they will be organizing people on the day of the project.
According to Cunningham, “Clay and Braxton have developed strong leadership skills and are a great asset in expanding the 4-H program here in Dade County.”
Bontekoe is glad to see them taking initiative, saying, “It’s easier for us adults to [organize a project], but we’re looking to invest in students. We sat down with the boys and told them that this is their project. They’re getting the word out on Facebook and talking with their friends.”
Boentekoe will provide tools on the day of the event, but he encouraged the boys to take charge.“It’s young people like Clay and Braxton that really help the 4-H program expand and make a difference in our community,” says Cunningham. “It makes me proud to be a part of the UGA Extension Service.”