Detroit River Coalition to Host Earth Week Activities

Clean up the Detroit River, submit your artwork, learn about habitat restoration, and more
Detroit River
Detroit River photograph: IStock

Earth Week kicks off on April 16. To honor this annual celebration, the Detroit River Coalition — a group of U.S. and Canadian organizations, including the Belle Isle Conservancy, Friends of the Detroit River, and Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, that work to reduce litter pollution in the Detroit River — is presenting a lineup of activities that focus on cleaning the river and its shores.

“Together, we can remove littered pollution at the source and prevent it from flowing through our local waterways, though the Great Lakes, and into the world’s oceans, where it is significantly more difficult to retrieve,” says Genevieve Nowak, director of Environmental Initiatives and Affairs at the Belle Isle Conservancy, in a press release. “Earth Week this year along the Detroit River will be a great opportunity for people to ‘nurture nature,’ safely enjoy the outdoors, and make a huge impact.”

From April 17 to April 24, the organization is hosting a choose-your-own cleanup activity in which individuals and groups can choose a day and location along the Iron Belle Trail that they wish to clean. Dumpsters and trash collection stations will be available, and those who volunteer on the U.S. side can enter to win a bike from Shinola. Additionally, on April 24, the Detroit River Coalition is organizing group cleanup events at six locations across southeast Michigan. Participants can choose to work at sites like Detroit’s Dequindre Cut, Belle Isle, and Milliken State Park.

Other Earth Week events include a photo and art contest, which launches today and runs through March 22. Creatives can submit their work online for a chance to win prizes. The Detroit River Coalition will also present a virtual Earth Week Kickoff event on Facebook on April 15, a virtual Binational Detroit River Bingo event on April 19, and a virtual presentation on habitat restoration in the U.S. and Canada on April 20.

Social distancing is required at all in-person events, and volunteers must wear masks when near members outside their household. There is no cost to attend the activities, but some events require online registration.

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Emma Klug is a senior editor and digital content coordinator at Hour Detroit. In her role, Klug writes and edits stories on community, art, food, and lifestyle topics for, edits the Hour Daily newsletter, and is involved in planning and proofing the monthly print magazine. She also oversees the editorial web internship program for the magazine. A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Klug has been with Hour Detroit since 2016. She has also contributed to Hour Media publications DBusiness magazine and Metro Detroit Weddings magazine. You can reach her at