Volunteers do a GREAT job cleaning up the river

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JACKSON, MI (WILX) -- The Grand River in Jackson got some much needed T-L-C on Saturday.

The Grand River in Jackson is getting some much needed clean up on Saturday. (Source WILX)

Groups of volunteers took part in the annual G.R.E.A.T. Clean Up to help keep the river clean.

"We're going to actually clean up ten miles of the Grand River starting from 127 High street to the south and were going to end up to the north (of) the Portage River," said Jack Ripstra the Chairman of the Grand River Environmental Action Team (G.R.E.A.T).

He said they've been doing this river clean up for almost 30 years.

"We pull out bottles, cans, automobile parts," says Ripstra. "We found a rifle, highway cones...It's amazing what we'll find each year."

This year they had over 30 volunteers join them with the project which included high school students.

"Some of the things they learn from is assisting the community, and they help our waterways which help the fishing and hunting," said MSG Mike Nichols, Senior Army Instructor.

"They also feel a part of the community," added Nichols.

"You know I was raised here, I've lived here a lot of my life," said Jake Shelby, a student from the Jackson Area Career Center. "It's nice to give back a little bit and help out."

The chairman of the clean up said they are helping protect a larger body of water in Michigan.

"We're at the headwaters here in Jackson County and it ultimately ends up outlet flowing into Lake Michigan and Grand Haven," said Ripstra.

The Grand River clean up crew has seen a difference in the amount of trash in the water year after year.

"We are seeing that the quantity we pick up does go down a little bit each year, so we are making a difference," said Ripstra.

To find out how you can join in on the next river clean up head to their website,

Click here for information on the GREAT Clean Up.
Or head to their Facebook page by clicking here.

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