Somebody should do something about that…

June 26, 2013 in Community Development, Natural Resources, Stories by Kelly Stettner

Sometimes all it takes is a nudge…
In the summer of 2000, I was walking with my husband and our toddler daughter on a bridge over the Black River in Springfield, VT.  I stopped to look into the water, hoping to spot a turtle or fish.  Instead, I saw shopping carts, tires, and cement blocks beneath the surface.  ”That’s terrible!” I remember exclaiming, “Somebody ought to DO something about that.”
My husband, ever the pragmatist, elbowed me in the ribs and replied, “Well, YOU’RE ‘somebody’.”
I recruited a couple of co-workers a month later and, with the help of my husband and daughter, we hauled out 14 shopping carts, a dozen tires, and a variety of household trash.
I’ve been organizing the RiverSweep every year since then, reporting our trash “treasure” tally to the CT River Watershed Council, based in Greenfield MA; the CRWC also supplies us with trash bags and work gloves each year.  Out of this annual event, which now brings in over 100 volunteers from around the river basin, the Black River Action Team (or BRAT) was born.
Among other projects, we plant trees on streambanks, help stock trout with the State, examine and explore habitat for fish and aquatic insects, take regular water samples from the river, work to identify and manage invasive plants and replace them with native species.
A simple phrase: “You’re ‘somebody’” has come to embody my work with the BRAT.  We are each the ‘somebody’ who can make a difference, the catalyst for positive change in our community.
(Editor’s Note: Want to find out more about this fantastic organization and get involved? Visit the BRAT Facebook page and…be the somebody!)

Youth in action for river clean up troops ~ being the somebody

Youth ~ being the somebody and making a difference