City of Harrisonburg to host cleanup, Arbor Day, rain barrel events

City of Harrisonburg to host cleanup, Arbor Day, rain barrel events

Crystal Graham
blacks run clean up day

The City of Harrisonburg is seeking community participation to help improve water quality and reduce stormwater runoff through three April events.

The opportunities include the 25th annual Blacks Run Clean Up Day on April 15, Arbor Day on April 15, and a Rain Barrel Workshop on April 19.

Blacks Run Clean Up Day

Festivities kick off with the 25th anniversary of the Blacks Run Clean Up Day event. This year’s event will celebrate a quarter century of positive environmental impacts with participation by local businesses, added contest giveaways, and the return of the Clean Up Day Green Scene in Harrisonburg’s downtown.

The event will kick off with check-in, distribution of supplies and cleanup location assignments at the Green Scene located in the grass lot beside Turner Pavilion at 228 S. Liberty St. The Green Scene will feature educational exhibits from local environmental-focused organizations and a new passport card activity that volunteers may turn in for a chance to win a prize. Once volunteers have received their supplies and visited the Green Scene they will proceed to their cleanup location.

Clean Up Day volunteers may participate in the Harrisonburg Public Works annual social media photo contest for a chance to win prizes donated by local businesses. Prizes will be awarded to those who capture the best photo of the largest item discovered, weirdest object discovered, largest local business team and most enthusiastic/spirited team.

To be considered, participants may do one (or all) of the following:

  • Tag @harrisonburgpublicworks on Facebook
  • Tag @hbgpublicworks on Instagram
  • Use the hashtag #BRCD2023 on your Facebook or Instagram post.

Prizes will be announced on the Harrisonburg Public Works Facebook page after the event.

Once Clean Up Day is complete, volunteers are encouraged to return to the Green Scene for a special pizza party and passport activity raffle announcement.

Volunteers will be given a participant voucher to receive discounted brews and other specials at downtown breweries/cideries, during open hours, on Clean Up Day.

The public may pre-register to participate in Clean Up Day online. Day-of registration is available however pre-registration is encouraged, allowing participants to select which stream location they would like to help with or the option to join an Arbor Day Tree Planting event.

Arbor Day

Also on April 15, Public Works Green Space Manager Jeremy Harold will be welcoming volunteers to an Arbor Day (observed) Tree Planting event.

Twenty trees will be planted by volunteers as part of a stream buffer and tributary to Heritage Oaks Golf Course.

This Arbor Day event supports the City’s annual designation as a Tree City USA.

Rain Barrel Workshop

Another way the public may participate in Harrisonburg stormwater efforts is to have a rain barrel at home. The city partners annually with the Shenandoah Valley Soil and Water Conservation District to offer a Rain Barrel Workshop on April 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Harrisonburg Recycling Center at 2055 Beery Road.

At the workshop, participants will learn about the benefits of having a rain barrel and construct one to take home with them.

“Rain barrels help reduce stormwater runoff, reduce erosion and flooding, create a water source for home plants and help save money,” Harrisonburg Public Works Stormwater Compliance Specialist Shayna Carter said. “We encourage the public to sign up for this fun interactive workshop before spots fill up.”

Register for the Rain Barrel Workshop online.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.