About the Sojourn Steward position:
Brad will embark on the Schuylkill River Sojourn as the Sojourn Steward, a position sponsored by the Schuylkill Action Network. Brad will begin his journey in Schuylkill Haven, near the headwaters of the Schuylkill River, and will kayak the entire length of the river down to Boathouse Row in Philadelphia. Throughout the seven-day journey, Brad will use a GPS camera to photograph highly littered areas, either where people are directly littering into the River, or where litter has built up due to the flow of the river.
Previously, Brad received immense recognition for his One Man’s Trash project and exhibition at Fairmount Water Works in 2015. Every week for a year, Brad went on three-hour hikes in the Wissahickon Valley Park, picking up all the litter he could physically carry out. He found nearly 4,000 objects, including the expected beer cans and potato chip bags, but also the unexpected pregnancy tests (three of them) and air fresheners (also three). Most notably, though, was the prevalence of single-use plastic water bottles. “Philadelphia has one of the best municipal water systems in the country, but people still bottled water without realizing the impact all that plastic is making—the bottle, the label, the lid, the shrink wrapping on cases,” he says, while noting he recovered 255 individual bottles of water with 43 different brand names.
The Sojourn will kick off just as the annual Schuylkill Scrub, a trash cleanup initiative, wraps up. The Schuylkill Scrub, which is coordinated by the Schuylkill Action Network, spans over 2,000 square miles of land that drains to the Schuylkill River, otherwise known as the Schuylkill River watershed. Through this collaborative effort, over 1 million pounds of trash was removed from from the watershed in 2015.
“By photographing and mapping out litter in the river, we’re hoping to bring more public awareness to the litter issue and more incentive to take action,” says Virginia Vassalotti, Schuylkill Action Network Specialist for the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. “This litter map will also provide groups with locations in need of cleanups.”