Seventh and eighth grade Memorial School students and members of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission teamed up late Thursday morning to revitalize the river walk and eco-village located on the middle school's property along the Passaic River.
PVSC River Restoration Program members used heavy machinery to haul and spread wood chips and remove site debris, while Memorial students gathered trash from the river's banks and collected dry leaves for the eco-village compost pile.
Since partnering to construct the river walk nine years ago, the school and the commission have worked hand-in-hand to maintain the area by holding bi-annual cleanup days.
Memorial science teacher Craig Cohen, who also heads the school's environmental club, said Thursday's event wasn't a sanctioned cleanup, but rather just an opportunity for students to get outdoors, celebrate the river and give back to the community.
"We're thankful the river is not flooded this year, so let's go enjoy it," said Cohen, who thanked PVSC for supporting and maintaining the river walk.
PVSC executive director Michael DeFrancisci, who attend Thursday's cleanup, said he considers the commission's educational outreach in schools some of the most important work the organization performs.
"These kinds of projects really give back to the community and really showcase a lot of the things we do that most people don't see," DeFrancisci said. "The kids get a lot of use out of it, the community gets a lot of use out of it, schools love it."