River Day flows into its 8th year

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The weather is finally warming, flowers are blooming and birds are singing. Unfortunately plastic bags are also flying, bottles are floating and snack wrappers adorn our river’s banks. It must be time for River Day, South Orange’s annual, community gathering to clean up the village’s section of the Rahway River and celebrate environmental education and awareness. River Day will be Sunday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Skate House on the duck pond off of Mead Street in South Orange.

“In addition to the usual family-friendly food, fun and music there will be a return visit from the Lenape Nation for a traditional welcome,” said Jim McGowan, former Environmental Commission chairman and ringleader for River Day, adding “if you don’t want to get wet there will still be a lot to do. Our new EC Chairman, Bill Haskins, will be leading an introduction to basic bird watching, Java Compost will have a composting demonstration, SO Not Plastic will be giving out reusable shopping bags, artist Denise Hayden will lead another participatory art project, and my favorite, the students of South Orange Middle School will be presenting their River Curriculum studies.”

If you’ve never been to River Day, you can volunteer to help clean up the river and its banks by collecting the garbage that threatens the water quality, animal life and aesthetics, or you can check out the educational exhibits, eat food and listen to music in a beautiful location.

“Do a little of everything, including watching the bird’s eye view of the event on Facebook via drone piloted by George Finlay,” Village Trustee Walter Clarke suggested. “I still love getting in the river because you never know what you’ll find. My favorite found object to date was a bowling ball but maybe this year I’ll top it!”

If you plan to get in the river come prepared with boots, old sneakers or sturdy shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and a sense of adventure and civic pride. You never know what you might find.