West Branch Housatonic River Cleanup on Saturday

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — On Saturday, June 25, from 9 am – 1 pm, volunteers are invited to help clean up the West Branch of the Housatonic River. 
 
Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) said cleanups make a considerable difference in the health of the Housatonic River and the wildlife that depends on it. Over the years, BEAT and Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) have collected an array of debris — including mattresses, shopping carts, inflatable pools, bicycles, televisions, tires, construction materials, metal barrels, and all kinds of everyday trash. Once, they even found an empty ATM. Since beginning annual cleanups, their efforts have made a noticeable difference, with the piles of trash getting smaller, said BEAT in a press release. 
 
Participants are asked to meet at Wahconah Park, 105 Wahconah Street. 
 
Cleanup teams will disperse to nearby locations, gathering miscellaneous trash from the river banks and bottom. Canoes will be used to transport the trash. Old clothes, a hat, sunscreen, old sneakers or waterproof boots/waders, a full water bottle, and sunglasses are recommended. The cleanup will be canceled in the event of pouring rain or thunder. 
 
An additional West Branch Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, July 23, from 9 am to 1 pm.
 
West Branch river cleanups are organized by BEAT and HVA and co-sponsored by Blue Q, the City of Pittsfield, and American Rivers. 
 
For more information or to register to volunteer, contact BEAT at noah@thebeatnews.org.

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Pittsfield In-Person Tree Lighting Ceremony Returns After 2-Year Hiatus

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

The Laviolette family donated the tree and turned on the lights on Friday.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Hundreds gathered at Park Square on Friday for the city's first in-person tree lighting ceremony in three years.

The 25-foot tall white spruce is adorned by 20,000 lights, illuminating the area and spreading holiday cheer.

"There are so many kids and families here this evening and I know everyone is anxious to see the beautiful tree that was donated by the Laviolette family," Mayor Linda Tyer said right before the switch was flipped.

"Thank you for your generosity. This tree will provide a whole month of beauty and festivity for all of us to enjoy and I love coming to the tree lighting because when you look all around Park Square, you can see just how beautiful our city is at this time of year."

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