The St. Joseph river is one of South Bend’s greatest natural resources and without question provides the best opportunities for local outdoor fun. It seems only fair that us outdoor adventurers should occasionally act as stewards of the river. With this in mind, six of us gathered at Viewing Park on Sunday morning, got into two canoes and three kayaks and spent the morning collecting trash. I had greatly underestimated the amount of garbage we would find. Within three hours, my canoe was covered in a mountain and all of the other boats were out of space. Some of the more interesting finds included a car headlight, a road barricade, a message in a bottle, an inflatable pool, and a rubber duckie which might have been a castaway from this shipping mishap in the Pacific twenty years ago (okay, probably not, but it’s fun to imagine a rubber duckie taking such an epic journey and ending up here in South Bend). The clean-up was definitely a success. We made it from the park, almost to the Twyckenham Rd Bridge. And don’t worry, we left a little bit of trash behind for the next clean-up crew. But seriously, the river needs lots of love and more cleanups are very encouraged. It isn’t as disgusting as it sounds and it can make a big difference. Thanks a lot to those that showed up to help.