The Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC) is giving back this Earth Day with a month-long series of events sponsoring service projects throughout the Buckeye State. The Cleveland-based brewery is partnering with unique nonprofit environmental organizations in 13 cities to make a difference in the spirit of conservation.
The initiative comes to Erie County at 10 a.m. April 12 with GLBC joining local volunteering group Friends of Pipe Creek Watershed to clean up Shoreline Park, which is a popular fishing spot. Naturally, volunteerism is important, but GLBC is upping the ante with an after-party for volunteers featuring award-winning beer on tap, complimentary food and prizes.
Organizing the local affair is Firelands Coastal Tributaries Watershed Coordinator Breann Hohman, who talked to Funcoast.com about the special event.
FC: How did Firelands Coastal Tributaries Watershed get involved?
BH: It was extremely exciting. We’ve been doing lots of different types of cleanups, and here was a group that basically wanted to come and enhance the cleanup, wanted to be able to do what they do to make sure the event was special for the volunteers. So it’s a partner we weren’t really expecting because we’re not part of the Greater Cleveland area. It’s always good to kind of have some extra ties to really get the word out about the type of volunteer opportunities that are out there for our shoreline.
FC: So what exactly do you have planned for Shoreline Park?
BH: We’re meeting at Shoreline Park and going to separate the group into different teams heading in different directions to clean up the shoreline areas and some of the different parks and piers. This is a litter cleanup. After the snow melts, you really see the different types of litter debris that’s been left, so they’ll be doing a cleanup based on that. We’ve had events where it’s not uncommon to get more than 1,000 pounds of trash on one cleanup.
FC: In terms of getting volunteers, you mention free beer and your numbers should increase, right?
BH: It kind of differs from year to year. We’ve had events that were really great. We’ve had others where we struggled to find volunteers. A lot of it is weather dependent, but we’ve never really been able to kind of have a larger sponsoring group as part of it. So usually we have, like, a group between 10 to 20 people, and so far our signups we have over 30. It definitely has helped us to get new people.
FC: Any word on whether GLBC will make this an annual event?
BH: I hope so. I think it’s great that GLBC is expanding out of its hometown to help increase stewardship everywhere else. Obviously Lake Erie is GLBC’s water supply, so it’s a great event for them to show they really want to do something about the environment and want to support those volunteer groups that are doing something.
FC: OK, just to confirm, this GLBC event won’t find volunteers drinking and playing cornhole for the majority of the day?
BH: No, the cleanup takes place first [laughs]. I think people who come out, there’s a bit of camaraderie and a little bit of this volunteering family that gets built. There are a lot of friends. It’s just neat.
For more information, visit greatlakesbrewing.com/news/glbc-launches-earth-day-tour.