Orange County will celebrate its first Creek Week, which aims to educate the community on local waterways, from March 12-19.
The event, intended to become an annual tradition, will feature virtual educational events on the importance of clean water, while also having fun in the process. In addition to litter cleanup challenges, there will be a virtual 5K run and green infrastructure tours.
Sammy Bauer, a community education coordinator for Stormwater Division of Chapel Hill who is organizing Creek Week, said there are many small ways the community can help improve water quality.
“We all need healthy clean water in order to live,” they said. “My favorite part is that at pretty much any age, everyone can be doing little small things that can help protect those drinking water sources.”
Bauer said the Town of Chapel Hill exclusively hosted a Water Week in 2018 but wanted to expand to Carrboro and Hillsborough this year.
“We could partner with a lot of the amazing folks across the entire county to do a week-long celebration of our waterways,” Bauer said.
But helping waterways takes more than cleaning up litter. Terry Hackett, stormwater and environmental services manager for Hillsborough, said the area is home to invasive species such as the Hydrilla plant and English ivy, which can decrease biodiversity and interfere with ecosystems.
The Hillsborough Tree Board is planning two invasive tree removals for Creek Week for March 12 at 1 p.m. on Riverwalk, Hackett said. There will be an additional removal event on March 16 at the same time.
He said task forces and events like Creek Week are used to help "make a dent" in the invasive species problem.