2019 River des Peres Trash Bash Recap

Thank you partners and volunteers for another successful River des Peres Trash Bash!

On Saturday October 19, 2019,  424 volunteers came together under sunny skies to clean up the creeks, streams and neighborhoods within the River des Peres Watershed.   Here are some quick highlights and numbers:

Trash Removed

  •  7 tons of trash and 150 tires removed in 3 hours!
  • Of the total, 1 ton of metal and all 150 tires will be recycled

Event Details

  • 15 cleanup sites along the river des Peres Watershed
  • 4 Check in locations- Willmore Park-St. Louis, Heman Park Community Center-University City, Hanley Hills City Hall, and Lorraine Davis Park-Webster Groves

Prizes awarded for: 

  • Strangest Trash Found – 20 year old (approx.) Nintendo Game
  • Most Valuable Trash Found – Power tool bag

Thanks to partners, volunteers enjoyed:

  • free t-shirt
  • breakfast & lunch
  • post event celebration at Willmore Park with DJ, educational booths and entertaining Renegade St. Louis history lesson about the River des Peres

In addition to the major partners, we are grateful for the following events partners who provided, resources, staff and/or hosted cleanup sites:

  • Ladue- three dump trucks and staff
  • Clayton -skid steer, truck and staff, also managed waste processing area
  • Des Peres- one dump truck and staff
  • Shrewsbury- one dump truck and staff
  • Frontenac -one dump truck and staff
  • Brentwood -one dump truck and staff
  • Creve Coeur- one dump truck and staff
  • University City site host, one dump truck and staff
  • Glendale staff-assisted Clayton staff at the waste processing area
  • Crestwood covered part of Domino’s pizza lunch cost for volunteers
  • Webster Groves site host
  • Hanley Hills site host
  • Dobbs, recycled 150 tires

Sound like fun? Join us for the  Confluence Trash Bash on March 21, 2020. Complete the form below to be notified when registration opens! 

Confluence Trash Bash 2020 registration notification



Volunteers Needed for 17th Annual River des Peres Trash Bash Saturday October 19

Great Rivers Greenway District, in partnership with the River des Peres Watershed Coalition, Missouri Department of Conservation, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, and the City of St. Louis invites you to clean up the creeks and streams within the River des Peres Watershed.

This is a family friendly event that improves neighborhoods by removing trash and improving water quality in St. Louis City and St. Louis County.
Volunteers of all ages are needed to clear litter from several sites, including Gravois Creek, Deer Creek, River des Peres and the Mississippi River.

“This year’s floods revealed how trash or plastic bottles dropped on streets and sidewalks winds up in our waterways,” says Tom Schweiss, Great Rivers Greenway Conservation Manger. “At the peak of the flooding, many people were dismayed by all of the trash floating in the River des Peres and wanted to know what could be done to clean it up. The Trash Bash is a great opportunity to get involved and do just that. We need all hands on deck to remove the trash, restore habitat, and improve water quality for everyone who lives in the watershed.”

Registration will take place from 8:00 to 8:45 a.m. at four locations – Willmore Park, located on the east side of the River des Peres and just north of the intersection of Hampton and Gravois Avenues in St. Louis City; the Heman Park Community Center, located at 975 Pennsylvania in University City; Hanley Hills City Hall located at 7713 Utica Drive; and Lorraine Davis Park, located at 145 E. Waymire in Webster Groves Free breakfast will be provided at each location, and all volunteers will get a free t-shirt.

The cleanup will last from 9:00 a.m. to noon with a celebration and appreciation pizza lunch at Willmore Park from noon to 2 p.m. Volunteers will also be rewarded with musical entertainment and prizes for the “best” trash finds in three categories—most valuable, oldest, and weirdest.

Volunteers at the 2018 Trash Bash removed 6.7 tons of debris from streams and creeks within the River des Peres Watershed in only three hours. The final tally included 138 tires, 1.4 tons of scrap metal, .45 tons of recycling material and 4.8 tons of trash. Long-time volunteers, youth and community groups, as well as new faces from across the region, are encouraged at this year’s Trash Bash to work together to improve the River des Peres Watershed.

For more information or to register in advance, STLTrashBash.org.

Willow Staking along the Meramec Greenway

To help stabilize an eroding stream bank near the Meramec Greenway: Lower Meramec Park, Great Rivers Greenway partnered with Saint Louis County Parks and the Open Space Council to plant more than 300 willow stakes. But before the stakes could be planted, staff from each of the organizations and community volunteers came together to harvest stakes from another park along the Meramec River. These stakes, cut from live willow trees, will provide protection for the stream bank and provide many other ecological benefits in the process.

Volunteers Needed for Confluence Trash Bash March 23, 2019

Join  Great Rivers Greenway and our partners at Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Missouri American Water, and Missouri Department of Conservation Stream Team for the 11th annual Confluence Trash Bash on Sat. March 23, 2019, from 8 a.m. to noon. Area residents are invited to join the cleanup efforts to improve the condition of our waterways. To date, volunteers have removed more than 150 tons of trash and about 6,700 tires from area streams and rivers.

Volunteers can choose from the following locations to check in and receive a free bagel breakfast and T-shirt from 8-8:45 a.m.:

  • Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, 801 Strodtman Rd, St. Louis, MO 63138
  • Creve Coeur Park, 2160 Creve Coeur Mill Road, St. Louis, MO 63146
  • Chesterfield River’s Edge Park, 17089 North Outer 40 Rd #140, Chesterfield, MO 63005 (Open to ages 16 and older only; head into Bike Stop Cafe for breakfast and registration)
  • Florissant Sunset Park, 2300 Sunset Park Drive, Florissant, MO 63031
  • Bridgeton Government Center, 12355 Natural Bridge Road, Bridgeton, MO 63044
  • Hanley Hills City Hall, 7713 Utica Dr., St. Louis, MO 63133
  • Overland Wild Acres Park, 2500 Ashby Road, Overland, MO 63114
  • Dellwood Recreation Center, 10266 W. Florissant 63136
  • Greenwood Cemetery, 6439 St. Louis Ave. 63121

Specific cleanup sites will then be assigned near each of the starting locations.

“It’s amazing to see how much trash and debris our volunteers can clear out of our rivers and creeks in just a few hours,” says Charlene Waggoner, Greenway Network, Inc. Board President. “The energy and enthusiasm are contagious as people from across the region come together to improve water quality and wildlife habitat. It feels good to make a difference in the community, and it keeps volunteers coming back year after year.”

All are welcome, and no experience is required. Individual volunteers, civic groups and youth organizations are encouraged to attend. Volunteers should dress for the weather and bring a water bottle and gloves. Trash bags will be provided. Transportation is available for school and other groups by contacting Colleen Scott with the Missouri Department of Conservation via email at Colleen.Scott@mdc.mo.gov.

Partners on this event include St. Louis Audubon, Greenway Network, League of Watershed Guardians, St. Louis Brightside, St. Louis County,. Participating municipalities include St. Louis County, cities of St. Louis, Maryland Heights, Creve Coeur, Florissant, Bridgeton, Overland, Hanley Hills, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Jennings, Normandy, Black Jack, Hazelwood, Breckenridge Hills, Chesterfield, Berkeley, Dellwood, and Ballwin.

For more information, email greenwaynetwork@gmail.com. To register online, click here.

Deer Creek Honeysuckle Walks

The City of Webster Groves is testing chemical-free methods of honeysuckle removal along the Deer Creek Greenway. Watch and learn more about these methods and how you can help during the month of March!

Boy Scout Conservation along Deer Creek Greenway

We recently caught up with James Karslake, a young conservationist who spent part of his 12th birthday fighting soil erosion along the Deer Creek Greenway. James has volunteered more than 400 hours of his time to this project, which he researched and worked with a conservation advisor to plan. This is his fourth conversation undertaking around the St. Louis region in the last year and a half. James has been conducting this work in hopes of earning a Hornaday Award, a highly prestigious award the Boy Scouts describe as an “Olympic Medal Bestowed by the Earth.” Earning the award takes a lot of hard work and James is well on his way!

84-Year-Old Volunteer Helps Maintain River Views in Cliff Cave Park

If you walk or ride along the Mississippi Greenway in Cliff Cave Park, you’ve probably seen 84-year-old St. Louis County Park volunteer Joe Messler. He spends an average of twenty hours a week working along the paved trails in the lower section of the park, clearing out honeysuckle and other invasive plants to make sure park visitors always have a clear view of the river. In the five years he has been volunteering, Joe has not only made great progress enhancing the landscape, he’s also lost 135 pounds! Thanks for all your hard work Joe, we appreciate it!

Joe’s story is a great example of how volunteering is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for you! If you are ready to lend your hand, check out some volunteer opportunities here.

Great Rivers Greenway Volunteer Spotlight: Ava G.

Twelve-Year-Old “Force of Nature” Organizes and Plans Second Greenway Volunteer Day

Have you been thinking about volunteering for a stream cleanup or native planting day but can’t quite commit? Twelve-year-old volunteer Ava G. might provide all the inspiration you need to follow through. This dynamic soon-to-be-seventh-grader recently planned and coordinated her second volunteer day on a greenway!

Working under the direction of Great Rivers Greenway Conservation Program Manager Tom Schweiss, Ava recruited volunteers to plant 100 trees in the Meramec Greenway near Sunset Hills. Thanks to her enthusiasm and encouragement, more than 23 middle and high school students (and a few parents) showed up on a sunny Saturday morning to plant native trees that will increase diversity and improve habitat along the Meramec Greenway.

Last year, Ava and friends planted pollinator-friendly native plants and weeded existing flower beds at the Centennial Greenway trailhead in Shaw Park. At the end of the day they installed 75 native plants and improved approximately 1900 square feet of pollinator habitat.

“I was inspired to do something to help the environment by what I have learned at Cheley Colorado Camps. They encourage us to take what we learn at camp each summer and bring it back home – It’s called ‘Cheley in the Community.’ When I returned to St. Louis, I did some research and decided to work with Great Rivers Greenway. ”

Ava and friends’ day of tree planting will have a positive impact on the environment for years to come. In just one morning, they planted a variety of native trees including Burr Oak, Paw Paw, Black Chokeberry, Witch Hazel, Kentucky Coffee and more!

“It makes me happy to plan a memorable experience for my friends! We had a lot of fun and also created memories that will last a lifetime. Everyone who volunteered will be able to tell their kids or grandkids that they planted trees along the Meramec River!”

Inspired yet? Good! We would love to welcome you or your group as a greenway volunteer. Visit greatriversgreenway.org/get-involved/ to learn more!


Volunteers Remove 80 Yards of Trash, 5 Tons of Scrap Metal, 100 Tires (and a Boat!) at March 10 Meramec Greenway Cleanup

It’s amazing to see what 128 hardworking volunteers can do to improve the native ecology of the Meramec River watershed in a single Saturday! On March 10, we were thrilled to support two cleanup efforts in the Meramec Greenway.

Meramec Greenway: Pacific
In Pacific, The Ozark Trail Association, Pacific River Walk Trail Association and more than 40 volunteers joined forces to clear trash and debris along the Meramec River. The goal of the cleanup was to remove trash, invasive plants, and two dilapidated cabins along the route of a planned riverfront park in Pacific that will eventually link the Meramec Greenway, the City of Eureka and the Ozark Trail.

Thanks to the hardworking volunteers—and two expert equipment operators—the group removed more than 30 cubic yards of trash and debris left on the property by past floods. Volunteers also removed invasive plants, benefiting the native ecology of the Meramec River watershed.

Meramec Greenway: Lower Meramec Park
The Open Space Council kicked off their 51st Annual Operation Clean Stream with a special winter clean up near lower Meramec Park. More than 88 volunteers pitched in to remove scrap tires, debris, and other litter to improve the overall quality of the watershed and improve open spaces.
At the end of the day, they removed 5 tons of scrap metal, 50 cubic yards of trash and 100 tires.

Many hands make light work and we rely on the support of partners like the Open Space Council along with volunteers to maintain the greenways and improve our region’s watersheds. If you would like to learn more about the Open Space Council’s Operation Clean Stream, visit their website here. If you would like to receive updates and information about volunteer opportunities, sign up for our quarterly volunteer newsletter here.