FLX Clean Up: Above and Below, an annual event, is looking for participants and locations. The 2021 event will be held across the Finger Lakes region on September 18, 2021. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in the United States in 2018, 292.4 million tons of trash were generated, with 146.1 million of that ending up in landfills. This event will assist in the collection of this trash.


Organized by Robert Kurz, of Watkins Glen Wine and Spirits, the event brings together community members to collect accumulated trash on land and in the water. Kurz is a certified diver and partners with S&R Underwater, from Beaver Dams, NY, to scour the bottom of Seneca Lake for materials that pose threats to the water quality and lake life. Those associated with Adopt a Highway groups are encouraged to participate in this event.


“I’m looking forward to working with S&R Underwater with their tin turtle for this event,” said Kurz. “Divers work closely with volunteers in kayaks who transport the garbage collected from the water back to land. It takes a group effort to clean up the Finger Lakes, which supports global efforts to save our planet. I’m proud to be a part of this very important mission and hope many others will join me.”


Participants are only asked to collect garbage. Municipalities will collect the bags and dispose of properly after the event. To participate, please email the location you would like to rid of trash and/or a location that you know needs to be cleaned to stephanie@watkinsglenchamber.com. Those able to support the dive team in kayaks are also encouraged to indicate their participation. Participants and opportunities for others to participate will be compiled here: https://www.explorewatkinsglen.com/blog/post/flx-clean-up/.


“The scenic beauty and unwavering quality of the Finger Lakes are our most valued treasures,” said Executive Director Michael Hardy. “Community members and visitors find solace in our fresh air, clean waters, and peaceful vistas. I am grateful to Bob Kurz for organizing this annual event and thankful to the many community members who recognize and appreciate the tremendous natural gifts we enjoy every day. It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure the Finger Lakes region remains a global treasure. As we can all see, some of our road sides, yards, and properties could use a bit of TLC after a busy summer, so we look forward to clean-up efforts that encompass the entire region. Bring a bag, some friends, and have a trash collection activity. We all have a responsibility to keep our land and waterways clean and protected. Fortunately, we can have fun and take pride in doing so.”