As part of the continuing goal of cleaning Garwood’s public areas, on Sept. 24, the Garwood Green Team partnered with Garwood LIDL management to clean the full length of the Garwood Brook along LIDL’s (and a neighbor’s) South Avenue frontage of over 700 feet.

This brook section is very important to Garwood and LIDL as many people form an opinion about our organizations when they park and shop at LIDL and look at the stream.  If it is litter strewn and not maintained, people are quick to form an opinion about the cleanliness and maintenance of the store and township.  Store Manager Caesar Nakhleh and the Green Team recognized this, so they teamed up to conduct a cleanup, which both parties hope is just the first of many more going forward (unless people stop littering and using the brook as a wasteway instead of a waterway). Green Team members Hadas Parag, Claus Holzapfel, Charles Lombardo, Jeff Jotz and Bill Nierstedt stream walked for two hours with store Manager Nakhleh, Assistant Managers Nick Reed and Chris O’Keefe, and District Manager Jan Van Vlaenderen to pick up litter and debris.

The findings of this cleanup were different from standard park, North Avenue or other community cleanups.  While certainly finding the usual bottles, cans, plastic pieces of all types, and litter, the crew found long pieces of aluminum siding, a weed whacker, bicycle tubes, wood frames, a winter coat, corrugated metal, a knife, hockey pucks, a Tiffany lamp shade, a camera, air filters and an EASY PASS transponder. It is a shame that people use this waterway as a dumping ground, as our walk revealed to us that there certainly are fish that live in this stream. This waterway also feeds into the Rahway River in Cranford, which is used for drinking water by other residents. While we did not see any on this day, we were also advised that deer frequent this area quite often both for water and shelter.

The team also picked up litter along the South Avenue fence/sidewalk above the brook. This area is even more visible to passersby driving their cars along South Avenue. In total, the team picked up about four bags of “junk,” and many more articles as described above that could not fit into bags. Lidl store manager Nakhleh gracefully offered all team members a breakfast pastry and drink (after we washed our hands) for providing assistance to this project, and we thank him for this. Lidl also took away all of the junk in their dumpsters.  The Green Team thanks Mr. Nakhleh and his team for their assistance, and we look forward to working together again next year to clean the brook even more.