Meet a longtime Adopt a River participant: the Green Team

by Tali Berkman, Freshwater intern

Group of young adults outside prepping for a cleanup
Above: The Green Team of the University of St. Thomas

While Adopt a River is a new program for Freshwater, it’s been around and making an impact for 33 years! More than 90,000 volunteers have organized 32,000 cleanups and removed a whopping 6,500,000 pounds of trash from the land and water.

One group that’s been cleaning from the beginning is the University of St. Thomas’s Green Team, which has been coordinating cleanups on the Mississippi River for the past 30 years! Each year students and staff gather for a day of cleaning up the stretch from the Marshall Ave Bridge to the Ford Parkway Bridge. This is a chance for a group of people who value sustainability to connect while cleaning up a part of the river that gets heavy use from the community.

The Mississippi River is part of the Mississippi River drainage basin, which drains 32 states—40% of the water on the continental United States to the Gulf of Mexico. It is the fourth largest watershed in the world! The trash the Green Team cleans up is trash that doesn’t travel to pollute downstream.

Spring is a fantastic time to organize a cleanup!

ANYONE can mobilize a group and plan a cleanup event! Our Adopt a River program will support you with the planning tools you need.

The nitty gritty

When and where should you plan a cleanup? Who should you invite, and how can you get started? We have all the answers for you! Learn more about the program!

What if I want to clean up, but not a shoreline? That’s great, too! Our streets are an extension of our shorelines. Most storm drains flow directly into lakes and rivers. That means everything we do on land affects our water. Check out our community cleanup page for info on other cleanups!