Save a critter...pick up litter

The Tennessee and Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge has announced a new clean-up campaign for those who are willing to help clean up the refuge lands.

With a slogan of “Save a Critter, Pick up Litter,” it emphasizes the dangers that litter can pose to many forms of wildlife. From discarded fishing line, released balloons, to bottles, bags and cans, these things can ensnare and many times kill the unfortunate wildlife species that happens to come across it.

“So, we are asking the public to help us clean up our refuge,” said Joan Howe, ranger at the refuge. “This is the refuge’s 75th anniversary and we are making an effort to clean it up for the safety of our wildlife in honor of this important year. However, during a time when it is not a good idea to get large groups together, we think we have come up with ways folks can help us and be socially distant and safe.”

The refuge will have available clean-up kits that contain garbage bags, gloves, hand sanitizer, refuge maps and bandages for any willing participant. Those volunteers can pick up trash at any portion of the refuge or shoreline at their convenience. People can also take before-and-after photos of their trash clean-up efforts and have them posted on the refuge’s Facebook page. At least three bags of trash picked up earns prizes that include a choice of a T-shirt, reusable trash bags or children’s activity books and gifts.

“This is a great idea for families, individuals or even groups such as civic clubs, Scout troops looking for service projects, 4-H groups, or anyone that wants to make a difference” said Linda Fields, president of Friends of Tennessee NWR.

This clean-up campaign will run until Nov. 15. Clean-up photos and reporting of the number of bags of litter that were removed can be emailed to friendstnwr@gmail.com.

Clean-up kits and prizes are available from three locations:

• Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Headquarter/Visitor Center, 1371 Wildlife Drive in Springville. 642-2091.

• Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge sub-headquarters, 550 Refuge Lane in New Johnsonville. 931-535-2465

• Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge, 643 Wildlife Road in Dover. 931-232-7477.

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