National Wildlife Federation

04/16/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/16/2024 09:16

Clean Earth Challenge Cleanup at Cascades Springs Nature Preserve Kicks off National Volunteer Week

Atlanta, Ga. - The National Wildlife Federation and West Atlanta Watershed Alliance kick off National Volunteer Week at the Urban Forest Festival by cleaning up the Cascades Springs Nature Preserve, a 135-acre preserve and one of the largest old forests inside Atlanta's city limits.

Taking place April 20, the cleanup is part of the Clean Earth Challenge, a partnership between the National Wildlife Federation and Johnson Outdoors. Now in its third year, the challenge is advancing the restoration and resilience of our nation's greatest natural resources-the land and water that sustain people, wildlife, and the planet. To date, challenge participants worldwide have removed 3.7 million pieces of trash from natural spaces.

"The community and youth that are volunteering their time to clean up the Cascades Springs Nature Preserve is a testament to the love and care the people of Atlanta have for the natural world and their city," said Krista Newbery, head of licensing and partnerships for the National Wildlife Federation. "This cleanup embodies the purpose of the Clean Earth Challenge and sets an example of what can be achieved when we all work together."

"National Wildlife Federation has been a long-time partner of WAWA's and we are excited to have them participate in our Urban Forest Festival, helping to bring wildlife awareness to the people of West Atlanta," Anamarie Ngala-Bey, environmental education programs manager at West Atlanta Watershed Alliance. "Much of WAWA's work emphasizes improving the quality of life for all and being a host site for the Clean Earth Challenge is a great way to align our values with NWF's."

"The Clean Earth Challenge is about us uniting to improve our wild places and community through simple, repeatable acts of preservation. The West Atlanta Watershed Alliance and the city of Atlanta have set a new standard for Volunteer Week," said Myra Shockley, brand manager at Johnson Outdoors. "This cleanup brings us one step closer to our goal of collecting four million pieces of trash, and another step toward a cleaner earth."

The preserve is heavily trafficked by visitors, making it susceptible to litter and trash build up that affects important wildlife and plant species like salamanders, opossums, foxes, songbirds and raptors that rely on the old growth forest ecosystem. A youth group from the National Wildlife Federation's Earth Tomorrow program will lead the cleanup alongside volunteers from the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.

National Wildlife Federation naturalist David Mizejewski will also be in attendance with a variety of animals to engage and educate about the impacts of pollution in the Atlanta ecosystem.