Most local waterways lead to the Chesapeake Bay and that is why a volunteer project taking place in Manassas Saturday aims at cleaning up the floodway along the Winter's Branch Trail.
The project's leader is Rob Gaither, General Manager at Old Town's City Square Cafe. Gaither said he was in need of a volunteer project for credit in a class he was taking as a senior at George Mason University. He contacted the city's Neighborhood Service Coordinator Christen Zenich, and they began working on the local Clean the Bay Day event.
Gaither, of Manassas, said while he has volunteered before he has never served in a leadership role for a project. But that hasn't deterred him from taking on the challenge. "If I make the decision to do something, I stick with it and make sure it is done right," he said.
But Gaither couldn't do it alone. He's enlisted the help of area youth; as of last week, had more than 40 youth volunteers signed up to pick up trash and other debris along the important Chesapeake Watershed creek in Manassas this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
The project is part of a larger effort put on by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation every year since 1989 to "Clean Virginia's Waterways." The 2011 Clean the Bay Day involved thousands of volunteers that cleared over 200,000 pounds of debris from the state's waterways, according to the event's website.
Community organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Manassas and local boy and girl scout troops are also providing volunteers for the Manassas event, Gaither said.
The city is donating items such as a large truck to collect the trash, and local businesses, including ECPI, Virginia Tech and City Square Cafe are also getting involved in the project. Gaither said the local restaurant will be providing water and fresh fruit, among other healthy snacks to the volunteers. A professor from Virginia Tech is also attending to speak on the environmental issue of water quality.
"If this goes well, I would like to do more creeks in the area," Gaither said.
Gaither said volunteers of all ages are needed to help with Saturday's cleanup effort. Parking is available at the Boys & Girls Club Manassas branch near the entrance to the Winter's Branch Trail, which will take you down to the mile-long creek.
Those interested in participating should email Robert Gaither at firstname.lastname@example.org.