On Labor Day, a group of about 34 Franklin and Simpson County residents went out to Drakes Creek to clean up the 28 miles of the creek inside Simpson County.

"I thought it went really well to be kind of thrown together," said Michael Gregory, co-organizer for the event. "We had every section of the creek at least covered by a couple people."

Gregory said he was out on the creek a couple weeks before Labor Day and saw what a mess it was. He posted on Facebook about organizing a clean up day, talked to Cristin Lanham and things fell into place from there.

"No body wants to see eyesores like tires or whatever else you are going to find on the banks," he said.

Lanham said she volunteered for the clean up because she loves taking the kids from the Boys and Girls Club over to the creek.

"I especially appreciate it because there are lots of lessons for the

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children to learn at the creek and most of them had never been, so it is disheartening when I have to worry about their safety," she said.

At the creek everyone split off into groups in canoe's, kayak's and boats to cover a section of the creek pulling up tires, plastic, debris and what Lanham and Gregory had to deal with, irrigation tape or drip tape. Farmers use the tape to irrigate their crops, so it is miles long and one continuous strip.

"When that ends up in the creek it gets hung up in the trees and then hung up in the creek and then hung back up in the trees and then hung back in creek, it goes solid from Kenny Perry's Golf Course to the dam all the way through," Lanham said.

Gregory said they probably pulled off anywhere from 600 to 1000 feet and it didn't make a dent.

Lanham said the source of the drip tape is somewhere on the stretch and they will eventually find it.

"That drip tape there needs to be some accountability, if they don't know they are doing it then they need to know that this is what happens," Gregory said.

Lanham said they pulled about 20 tires from the creek and turned them in to Simpson County Tire, who offered them an amnesty day so they would not have to pay the $1.50 per tire is usually costs to turn in tires.

To keep trash down Jepson Pearson Farms donated a bunch of watermelon boxes to collect the trash and debris in, one of the boxes still had watermelons in it for the clean up crew. The hospital helped donate gloves for the clean up and Resiliency Outreach brought sausage and biscuits that morning.

The park maintenance picked up the boxes the next day and disposed of the trash for the clean up crew.

"So we had just a few really great sponsors and that is all it takes," Lanham said.

Lanham said what surprised her was that no one found any syringes in the creek during the clean up. They told everyone what to do if they found one before they set out, but was happy no one came across any.

From this clean up Lanham and Gregory learned they need a bigger boat, better tools, mesh bags like feed sacks or grass sacks, butterfly nets to reach the trash in the boggy areas and they would like to take some environmental training before the next clean up.

"Tending to our environment is a no brainer to say that is important, but I just want to stress how easy this was and how easy it is for any individual to do some part of this anytime," Lanham said.

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