We've had 18 cleanups so far, from Telluride to Mountain Village to Ophir to the South Fork and San Miguel Confluence, all the way down to the San Miguel Preserve and along Leopard Creek in Placerville. We have had at least 60 to 70 volunteers, which amounts to an average of 260 hours of work cleaning up trash and noxious weeds.
We picked up four-and-a-half pounds of cigarette butts after Bluegrass from the alleys and streets. These little suckers are trash, folks. They end up in the river and sicken the fish. The toxicity of one cigarette butt can kill an aquarium of fish in just a few hours. So please, put them in your pocket.
Although we are making progress, oxeye daisies and non-native thistles keep popping up along the rivers. We're doing our best to eradicate these and keep them from spreading downriver and displacing native species. They may look pretty, but the elk and deer can't eat them. We are working in partnership with the San Miguel County Weed Board to track these invasive plants with GPS and through inter-organizational communication. Through a combination of hand-pulling and a small controlled amount of chemical use, we are making a dent in the problem.
Greenbucks has had many gracious partners in the community to provide our volunteers with incentives; we had free tickets to Mountainfilm, the Telluride Wine Festival, the recent phenomenal Jazz Celebration, and we also have tickets available at Telluride Music for the upcoming Mushroom Festival and the Friday of Blues and Brews. The merchant partners are available now, from a case of can beer at Belmont Liquors or a bottle of wine up to a $20 value at Bottleworks, 15 percent off a purchase at Picaya, 25 percent off your most expensive item + free drink + thermal mug at Between the Covers, and also $40 off a massage at Aromatherapy Day Spa.
We've got an Herb Identification Walk with John Sir Jesse in Bear Creek this weekend. Please meet at the South Pine Street trailhead at 10 a.m. this Saturday, August 13. This will be a bit easier than your usual cleanup, so you're welcome to bring school age-kids along. It will be fun and educational.
Please keep your eyes peeled for flyers around town for upcoming educational cleanups and weed eradication field trips. We will round out the season partnering with The Nature Conservancy for a Tamarisk Eradication Camping Weekend September 24-25 along the lower San Miguel. More information will soon be available.