150 students, 20 volunteers collaborate in 22nd Wisconsin River Cleanup

This is the 22nd year for the event and organizers say they are finding less trash on the banks of the river
Published: May. 12, 2023 at 6:56 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - From Mosinee to Wausau, 150 students and 20 volunteers scattered the area to pick up waste along the Wisconsin River for an experience that left many students feeling satisfied.

“We focus on the boat landings and then we have the kids spread out along the shorelines and just kind of pick up garbage as we go,” said Jeff Micholic, Volunteer. “That’s kind of been the way we’ve done it for years, and it seems to work.”

For 22 years, the Wisconsin River Cleanup has been an effective operation.

“We get to be with our friends, have some fun, but then we also get to clean the river up,” said Michael Thomsen, senior, Marathon High School. “And we get to miss a day of school.”

Waste along the river has declined over the year, a good problem for cleanup crews.

“It seems like the garbage just isn’t quite as much as it used to be, which is a good thing,” added Micholic. “It used to be in the past where we would get much more garbage than we have today.”

Despite less garbage, there’s still plenty of work to be done.

“There are all kinds of problems with chemicals and things like that in the water and things that we have to be careful about,” says Micholic. “There are things that are beyond our control, but at the same time, we have to be careful about our resources and take care of the beautiful things that we have today.”

All it takes is one person to make a huge difference.

“If you can, just please come out,” Thomsen stated. “It’s a great river to come out and try to keep clean because there’s a lot of people that live on it and/or like to use it. It’s just nice that you can go out there and know that your fish, river, and water are all gonna be clean.”

“It helps preserve it for the next generation,” said Grace Mohr, senior, Marathon High School.

Garbage was disposed of outside of the Wausau Eagle’s Club, who hosted the event. Nine local schools took part in this year’s cleanup, including Wausau East, Wausau West, Marathon High School, Wisconsin Valley Lutheran High School, and Mosinee High School.