Over 100 volunteers from the Philadelphia 76ers, Tilden Middle School and Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery joined Philadelphia Water and Untied By Blue for a Sept. 16 cleanup targeting Cobbs Creek and the surrounding woods. The cleanup was the latest in a series of volunteer events that kicked off this spring and have seen hundreds and hundreds of residents taking on trash in and along local waterways.

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The day started off with our Waterways Restoration Team (WRT) removing a giant granite orb that had rolled from the cemetery into the Cobbs. This epic feat, achieved with the use of a small bulldozer, had Friends of Mount Moriah President Paulette Rhone very excited—she said the eyesore had been sitting in creek for as long as she could remember:

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Just as students from Tilden and the Sixers organization began showing up at the main meeting point, a bridge overlooking the Cobbs, two Great Egrets—birds listed as endangered by Pennsylvania—arrived and began fishing in the creek.

The presence of these graceful aquatic birds was a beautiful display of waterways that are making a real comeback, and showed why protecting urban creeks from litter and dumping is important for wildlife like egrets.

Before the volunteers broke off into teams, NBA legend and former Sixers guard World B. Free gave the big group a pep talk and encouraged everyone to look for more opportunities to do good in their communities.

As the day moved forward, the WRT crew found themselves in demand, especially after a group of Sixers volunteers found over two dozen tires dumped on the banks of the Cobbs.

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That discovery no doubt helped to tip the scales on the day’s trash haul: while the goal was to remove 3,000 pounds of trash, the total for the day ended up being over 12,000 pounds!

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A big thank you goes out to all who participated in the Cobbs Cleanup!

Interested in doing some good for one of our local waterways? Join us for a Delaware River cleanup at Pier 68 in South Philadelphia on Sept. 21, or sign up now this Oct. 4 cleanup at Bartram’s Garden – the last Tuesday night cleanup of the year with United By Blue!

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