ORK partners with Statesboro, KSSB to install litter trap


Ogeechee Riverkeeper
Contact: Meaghan Gerard

Communications and Administrative Director

Keep Statesboro-Bulloch Beautiful
Contact: Amanda Clements
KSBB Coordinator


Little Lotts Creek location aims to be the first in an expanding program

Ogeechee Riverkeeper (ORK) has partnered with the City of Statesboro and Keep Statesboro-Bulloch Beautiful (KSBB) to help curb litter pollution in Little Lotts Creek. ORK researched litter trap technology and will install a ‘boom’ style device to catch litter. In collaboration with officials from the City of Statesboro, an initial site was chosen in Little Lotts Creek.

The City of Statesboro covered the cost to purchase the ‘boom’ litter trap, which uses a string of floats and a net to capture pieces of litter. ORK and KSBB will install the trap in October and coordinate regular pickups of trash cleared out of the trap. Items that can be recycled or repurposed will be collected by Boro Recycling. Other stakeholders for the project include community members with an interest in curbing litter and pollution.

“We hope this will be the first of many similar traps in Statesboro, Bulloch and beyond,” says Damon Mullis, executive director and riverkeeper at Ogeechee Riverkeeper. “And we will use this project to educate the public about how to reduce litter in our waterways, and how litter affects the health of our watershed.”

“The City has been looking for ways to continue partnering with Ogeechee Riverkeeper on a stream clean project,” said John Washington, city engineer, “and this was a very viable venture. If successful, this may lead to other partnerships throughout the City.”

A media advisory with details about installation will be distributed in early October.

About Ogeechee Riverkeeper: Ogeechee Riverkeeper 501(c)(3) works to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin, which includes all of the streams flowing out to Ossabaw Sound and St. Catherine’s Sound. At 245 miles long, the Ogeechee River system drains more than 5,000 square miles of land. More at ogeecheeriverkeeper.org.

About Keep Statesboro-Bulloch Beautiful: Keep Statesboro-Bulloch Beautiful is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation. Our goal is to educate and empower citizens and businesses with the resources needed to facilitate litter prevention, beautification, and community greening within the city of Statesboro and surrounding areas. More information can be found at keepstatesborobullochbeautiful.org.

Nature poetry

Turn to the outdoors for poetic inspiration. Sit and observe nature for a few minutes. Notice what you hear, smell and feel. Take your impressions, focus on specific descriptions, and compose a short poem. 


  • Read other poems to get an idea for the styles you like.
  • Use comparisons (simile and metaphor).
  • Read it out loud to yourself so you can hear how it sounds.
  • Listen to tips from Kwame Alexander, NPR’s poet-in-residence

Submit your entry by Wednesday, September 30, 2020 to info@ogeecheeriverkeeper.org. Include your name, age, poem (20 lines or less) and the location that inspired it – attach a photo if you want! ORK will award a t-shirt to the top three poets.


Blackwater Sounds
By: Mel Sparrow

Do you hear the grass?
It makes me laugh
As it blows in the wind
And reminds me of an old friend
The wasps hum
While dragonflies vibrate like a drum
The Kingfisher sings
While the fish scream
Listen to the sounds
As the blackwater’s heart pounds, how it pounds.

Birches (excerpt)
By: Robert Frost
When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798 (excerpt)

By: William Wordsworth
Five years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.—Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
‘Mid groves and copses.

Fauna: Geomys fontanelus 

Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center

Geomys fontanelus
Southeastern pocket gopher

You might never have seen a pocket gopher as they live almost entirely underground. They are fossorial creatures, meaning they are excellent diggers and prefer to burrow. They flourish in the type of soil found under the longleaf pine, which makes them very happy in the Ogeechee River basin. With giant front teeth and long claws, they look threatening, but are mostly harmless rodents.

They can be annoying for farmers as they dig up mounds of dirt in their fields, but they are ecologically significant in the aeration and mixing of the soil. They are particularly helpful in restoring forests after a prescribed burn by eating subterranean roots and preparing the land for a new planting of pine trees.

You are also unlikely to see a pocket gopher due to their threatened status and declining number. They were listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1989 and were even thought to be extinct for a number of years. Scientists are now finding small, locally-abundant populations but they are overall quite scarce.

A very annoyed gopher. Photo by Jim Ozier, GA DNR Wildlife Resources

There are a handful of subspecies in the Ogeechee River basin. G. p. cumberlandius is found only on Cumberland Island in Georgia. G. p. fontanelus is an isolated population near Savannah, and G. p. colonus is restricted to coastal plains in Camden Co., Georgia.

Membership Drive

Ogeechee Riverkeeper (ORK) leads the efforts to protect, preserve and improve our watershed. We educate. We inspire. We fight. And we share each victory with every member who has given of their time or donated to our organization.

Becoming a member of ORK allows us to continue the important work of testing water quality, sharing stories from the watershed, fighting legal battles, providing recreational guidance, and coordinating cleanup efforts across our 5,500 square-mile territory.

Hayner’s Creek clean-up volunteer

You can become a member by donating any amount. In addition to the various perks ORK offers our members, adding your name to our membership list is critical to our legislative efforts and grant applications. Having a strong team behind us shows that our constituents support our work.

Despite the limitations of the pandemic, ORK has successfully:

Riverkeeper Damon Mullis collects samples.

Please consider becoming a member, for any amount, today. ORK has options for automatically recurring monthly or annual giving as well as one-time donations. In a year when ORK has not been able to hold fundraising events or participate at environmental gatherings, your financial contribution is critical to ORK’s continued success. If you are already a member, thank you for your support.

ORK is also acutely aware that some may not be able to give at this time. There are many ways to support ORK through advocacy, volunteering and engagement. It takes efforts on many fronts to maintain the successes of our organization.

With gratitude,

Damon Mullis, Riverkeeper and Executive Director
Ann Hartzell, Board Chair

P.S. ORK is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a Platinum Star rating from Guidestar and is able to accept donations from donor-advised funds. Please contact staff for more information.


Visitors leave beer cans and half-burned trash on the banks of the Ogeechee River.

While we can’t organize group cleanups right now, we are coordinating individual litter pickups. We are encouraging families and households to adopt a spot on the river and commit to checking it for litter regularly.

One of the busiest, and messiest, places along the river is the landing. From constructed boat ramps to informal sandy spots to put in, these are heavily trafficked areas and tend to accumulate trash.

Our goal is to have each location ‘adopted’ by a dedicated crew who will make sure the litter is collected and disposed of properly.

ORK will provide:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Grabbers
  • Trash bags
  • Documents for volunteer hours, if needed

Volunteers will:

  • Choose a location to adopt
  • Cleanup the location at least once per month
  • Take before and after photos
Trash left behind at Route 301, near Dover.

Please observe safe social distancing. Before heading out, consider the weather and prepare appropriately.  Also be advised an ORK staff member will not be in attendance. This clean-up project will be “at your own risk.”

Interested volunteers should visit the map for possible spots to adopt then contact Melanie Sparrow, education and outreach coordinator.