As a new spring arrives, it is truly inspiring to see hundreds of volunteers across the Central Susquehanna Valley willing to don some old clothes, gloves and boots then traipse through mud and dirt to help keep our communities and waterways clean.

These environmental efforts — many of which have been ongoing for several years — were scaled back or canceled last spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but fortunately returned in the midst of some beautiful weather over the past few weeks.

“Particularly after the lockdown and the pandemic, people are going outside and appreciating more of what we have,” said Danielle Bronowicz, who led this year’s effort to clean up the banks of the Susquehanna River last week near Sunbury.

More than 100 volunteers stepped forward on April 18 to help pick up litter and pull garbage – including picnic coolers, a camera, TV, piece of fence and mini-refrigerator – from the river near Sunbury.

On Saturday, members and coaches of the Central Susquehanna Hammers, a scholastic mountain biking team, worked to spruce up Hopewell Memorial Park along Route 11, just across from the south end of Woodbine Lane in Danville.

About 50 volunteers from the Hammers, a regional team of students in grades 6 through 12 that competes in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League, gathered brush and fallen trees from the trails, picked up litter and painted a shipping container used for storage.

“It’s a blessing that we get to use these natural resources, so we need to take care of it, maintain it and make it sustainable,” said Amanda Beach, one of the coaches.

And then – speaking of inspiration – there was 18-year-old Rosalind Kane, walking carefully across stones Saturday along the Shamokin Creek, picking up litter. It’s an annual volunteer effort she started nine years ago after she asked her mom to host a public service event rather than her ninth birthday party.

On Saturday, more than 100 people joined her annual community service party, dedicating at least one hour to pick up litter and trash around Shamokin.

“I want the town to look the way I feel about it,” said Rosalind, now a senior at Shamokin Area High School who plans to attend Penn State University in the fall to study aerospace engineering and pursue her talents as a singer and actress.

In recognition of her efforts through the years, Mayor John Brown declared Earth Day as Rosalind Kane Day in Shamokin. Because she will be away at school next year, her parents, Tommy and Marla, are now working to hand the event over to “Go Shamokin,” a new civic and economic development group.

“She inspires us,” her mom said on Saturday. “You think you should be the one teaching your children when, in fact, she actually taught us more than we ever could have imagined.”

Indeed, the volunteer environmental work performed by every one of the people who participated in these and similar events across the Valley this spring is just the kind of inspiration and appreciation we all need right now.

NOTE: Opinion expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.

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