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Volunteers welcome for Big Sweep on Sept. 17

SALISBURY ó Volunteers to help pick up trash to High Rock Lake clean are invited to join in the 2011 North Carolina Big Sweep.
This year is the 25th anniversary of the N.C. Big Sweep, and Rowan Countyís cleanup will be held Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Volunteers should meet at the entrance to Dan Nicholas Park to receive bags, gloves, and cleanup site information. Groups, families or individuals that wish to work together can do so and be assigned to a convenient cleanup site.
Anyone who wishes to use a boat for shoreline access is welcome to participate also, and a convenient boat ramp drop-off site is available.
Volunteers should dress accordingly, and wear old heavy closed-toed shoes or boots (no sandals, slides or flip flops) and bring snacks, water, and insect repellent.
Pre-registering is helpful in assigning volunteers to sites, which are N.C. Wildlife public access areas and boating ramps at High Rock Lake.
Lambert, a naturalist at Dan Nicholas Park Nature Center and the Rowan County Big Sweep Coordinator, sent the Post a press release with information about the event last week.
The N.C. Big Sweep started in 1987 as a coastal cleanup called Beach Sweep. The event was expanded and renamed in 1989, and was the nationís first statewide waterway cleanup. In 2002, its mission expanded from litter-free waters to a litter-free environment.
In its 24-year history, more than 300,000 volunteers have retrieved more than 10 million pounds of debris. All 100 counties are expected to participate in the cleanup.
ěThis cleanup is really important in North Carolina, because litter hurts our local economies, especially tourism and new business recruitment,î Chip Dodd, N.C. Big Sweep chairman, said in the press release. ěLitter also contaminates our water supply and endangers people and wildlife.î
According to the press release, litter can last hundreds of years in the environment. Before it decomposes, litter can be deadly to wildlife that eat or become entangled in it. Once entangled, wildlife can often attract other wildlife to the same hazard.
Tourists wonít linger in trashy areas, they wonít spend money and they wonít return with their friends, the press release said. Businesses often choose not to locate to an area that is not clean and well-maintained.
With the recent dry weather, the water level at High Rock Lake is down, which makes for greater access along the shoreline. This allows easier access to the debris that is carried down stream and deposited there.
T-shirts are available for N.C. Big Sweep 2011 for $15. Go to the Web site for ordering information. This yearís T-shirts are made in the U.S.A. by American Apparel and designed by Katie Harris, of Mount Pleasant High School.
N.C. Big Sweep has an annual contest for the T-shirt design open to all students in grades K-12. The winner receives $100 and the title of North Carolina Big Sweep Artist Of The Year. The deadline for the 2012 contest is Nov. 1, 2011.
N.C. Big Sweep is a nonprofit group that works year-round to educate citizens for a litter-free environment. To find out more, go to their Web site at www. ncbigsweep.org.
For more information about Rowan Countyís cleanup, call Mike Lambert at 704-216-7833 (office) or 704-232-9866 (cell), or send an email to James.Lambert@ rowancountync.gov.

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