More Than 100 Turn Out To Clean Stream In Honor Of John Clyde

Members of the Somerset Select sports program roll tires up the embankment.

An estimated 150 people gathered at the Franklin-New Brunswick border on Hamilton Street April 13 to carry on the legacy of the man who started the township stream cleanings decades ago.

The inaugural John Clyde Memorial Stream Cleanup at Mile Run was attended by township residents and representatives, as well as by members of a handful of local environmental groups.

Clyde, 63, died on Jan. 24 in Philadelphia. He was a former township mayor and a committed environmentalist.

Clyde started the concept of annual stream cleanups years ago, so when it came time for this one, organizers felt it fitting to name it after him.

The volunteers fanned out on both sides of Hamilton Street, picking up trash and other detritus in the stream and along its banks.

Items picked up included building materials, automobile parts and a cache of more than 100 tires.

The New Brunswick Department of Public Works was on hand to cart the garbage away, and New Brunswick police made sure volunteers could cross Hamilton safely.

Walter Andrews, chairman of the township Environmental Commission, called the day a success.

“It really shows a difference between when you went in before and when you go in after, all those hands picking up,” he said.

Among the groups participating were the New Brunswick Environmental Commission – with which Andrews said the township commission partnered – the Watershed Institute, the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership, AmeriCorps NJ Watershed Ambassadors Program, Central Jersey Stream Team, Highland Park Environmental Commission, and Friends of Mile Run Brook.

Andrews said the event was named after Clyde to “continue his legacy.”

“It’s a way to honor him,” he said.

Township Councilman Ted Chase spoke briefly about Clyde before the volunteers began their cleanup.

Also on hand was Planning Board chairman Michael Orsini.

Orsini said he volunteered to “get a little exercise,” and for Clyde.

Orsini said Clyde appointed him to his first position in the township, as a member of the Shade Tree Commission, “so I had to come here for him.”

A group of players and coaches from the Somerset Select Sports program – traveling baseball and basketball teams – also showed up to help out.

Participating in these types of activities is part of the organization’s mission, said Nick Pizzie, the group’s president.

“We’ve done some stuff with United Way, and we’re going to be doing stuff with Elijah’s Promise in a couple months,” he said.

The group also raises money and donates a portion to charity, he said. He said the latest benefactor was Vet Rest, a veterans help organization.

“We do fundraising and things to involve the kids in the community and teach them how it’s important to give back,” said Dave Ryden, the group’s vice-president.

Two Franklin High School students, members of the school’s Junior Classical League, were among a half-dozen League members  who volunteered their time.

“We’re here volunteering, helping out the community,” said Adeel Yaqoov. “We like to do that as a group because it brings more teamwork and chemistry together and it’s very fun for us to do it also. We just like helping out the community and the environment.”

Shannon Lyons, another member of the League, said she wanted to volunteer because she “likes to clean” and enjoys being out in nature.

Here are some scenes from the event:


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