Volunteers help clean up Great Brook stream in New Milford

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

NEW MILFORD — Dressed in old clothes and wearing work gloves and boots, about 40 volunteers spent several hours Saturday picking up trash and planting trees at Hulton Meadow Park.

The volunteers were part of the Dream Stream Team Great Brook Clean-up and Planting. In a partnership with Sustainable New Milford, the Housatonic Valley Association, and community residents, $15,000 was raised toward the cleanup of Great Brook, a 4-mile stream that flows near downtown New Milford.

Trash that was removed Saturday included bed frames, half a dozen tires, bottles and containers, an air conditioner, a vehicle gas tank, plastic bags, broken buckets and a stroller. Volunteers also placed live stakes of willow and native dogwood along the banks.

About 20 Boy Scout Troops, with Scouts from New Fairfield, New Milford, Sherman and Danbury, helped in the effort.

“It’s important to help community projects, which scouting is part of,” said David Lewis, scoutmaster of New Milford Troop 58. “It gets the scouts involved and understanding ecosystems. You can put this toward the environmental science merit badge. It’s important to get the scouts outside, get them working.”

New Milford resident Gary Hida, who was the point person for the project, said the scouts played a key role in removing many of the larger items from the stream.

“The planting and cleanup are a big first step to improving this park and will help Great Brook get healthy,” Hida said.

New Milford resident Julie Bailey, volunteer coordinator, said it’s important to protect and care for the watershed. “This includes cleaning out all of this trash so you have a better free flow, and planting trees so you have canopy,” she said.

The Dream Team plans to return to Great Brook to do additional work in June and September. To volunteer, email Bailey jekbailey@gmail.com