They started at 9 a.m. Saturday—"grabbers" and trash bags in hand. Two hours later, they made the trek back up Winter's Branch Trail to turn in all the trash they had collected. But most of the girls didn't want to go home.
"The kids wanted to keep going," said Keysha Garner, leader of Junior Girl Scouts Troop 1426 in Manassas.
Troop 1426 and a Daisy Girl Scout troop joined adult volunteers Saturday to participate in Clean the Bay Day in Manassas at the city's watershed along Winter's Branch Trail in the Wellington area.
The girls were there to give back to the community by cleaning it up, but also learned about the upper watershed in their backyard and restoring a scarce resource: Water.
Rob Gaither, of Manassas, worked with the City of Manassas to organize the event and said the volunteers—young and old—learned a great deal about improving the water we do have and how trash in area waterways drastically impacts the Chesapeake Bay.
They also learned how important it is to get involved, Gaither said.
Some of the items found during the cleanup effort were a pair of pants, a baby diaper, siding from a house, chicken wire and clothes hangers. Volunteers reported picking up a lot of bottles as well as chip and candy wrappers.
Volunteer Denis Paddeu recalled bringing a group of Boy Scouts down to clean up the watershed five years ago; he said he believes Friday night's heavy rains helped the effort.
All the rain, which had completely flooded part of the local trail, had pushed trash downstream, he noted, and when the water receded, the trash was left behind for the volunteers to pick up.
Still, the heavy rain caused some water to overflow the banks, leaving some areas inaccessible.
Gaither said about 50 people showed up to help Saturday, and all the Girl Scouts earned a badge.