Towards the end of the 20th Century, the Los Angeles River was a concrete channel, funneling everything liquid down through Long Beach and into Queensway Bay.
Then the Friends of the LA River (FoLAR) was formed. In addition to lobbying for returning the river to a more natural state, the environmental group began an annual cleanup to remove trash from riverbanks.
Those cleanups have grown quickly, and now cover the last three weekends of April — Earth Month. Crews gather at nine sites along the 51-mile river over that period, starting at Sepulveda Basin and ending at the Golden Shore Marine Reserve.
"When you see so many people on the river working together in their FoLAR shirts, it warms your heart," Marissa Christiansen, FoLAR executive director, said in a release. "I am so inspired when I think about countless members of the river community pouring their love into our river over the last 29 years."
In 2017, about 10,000 volunteers worked over the three weeks, collecting more than 100 tons of trash. The city of Long Beach is a major sponsor.
People can sign up individually or as part of a group. Volunteers get a FoLAR tote bag and T-shirt, a KIND snack bar and a gift card from Rubio's Coastal Grill. Refreshments, snacks and sunblock will be on hand.
To register and for more information, go to https://folar.org/cleanup-2018.
All cleanups will be from 9 a.m. to noon. Here is the complete schedule and locations.
April 14 — Upper River. Sepulveda Basin/Balboa Sports Complex, Glendale Narrows Riverwalk.
April 21 — Mid River. Los Feliz Boulevard at Bond Park, Fletcher Drive/Bowtie Parcel, Marsh Park, The Frog Spot.
April 28 — Lower River. Compton Creek at Del Amo Metro Station, Willow Street Estuary, Golden Shore Marine Reserve.
Harry Saltzgaver can be reached at email@example.com.