CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — April 22 celebrates Earth Day across the globe. Known as a day of activism, the day got its start in the 1970s and grew the environmental movement.

Over 50 years later, the day of awareness continues to be celebrated locally. Local grassroots organization Save the River has been key player in the environmental movement in the North Country.

Save the River Executive Director John Peach reflected on how far we truly have come, and the progress that needs to be made.

“I can remember 50 years ago as a graduating college student being concerned about the pollution in the world, and Earth Day was the first time that students and concerned citizens got together and said, ‘we’re going to do something about cleaning up the Earth,'” shared Peach. “Here we are, 50 years later. We’ve made huge strides, but there is still a long way to go.”

He also shared why he believes it’s important to become “stewards” for the environment. 

“The North Country, and the river are very special places.” stated Peach. “It’s a place where you can step out of your house and be in the outdoors. You can be fishing, hunting, bicycling, breathing, good, clean air drinking, clean water.

Adding, “As special as it is, I think it needs stewards of the environment in celebration of Earth Day.”

To do just that, Save the River is officially kicking off a series of Trash Free River Cleanups. The first cleanup will be held this week in Fishers Landing along the St. Lawrence River.

Following April 22, the organization will lead several other large cleanups in local towns such as Cape Vincent, and large regions of the St. Lawrence River. This is following two successful large cleanups in Clayton, New York during the Fall of 2020.

According to Peach, the organization has already seen an overwhelming response from volunteers looking to help this summer.

To sign up for these events, visit the Save the River website.