About 60 people found themselves at the Watch Hill Ferry Terminal Sunday morning for the Patchogue River Clean-Up that was planned since summer. [We later determined over 100 participated.]

Among them was Rich VonRauchhaupt of Patchogue, who said he read about the event on greaterpatchogue.com, which was also a sponsor of the cleanup.

“It seemed like a good idea, and it’s a nice day out,” VonRauchhaupt said, though admitting he didn’t expect to be joined by so many people. “I would like to see more nice community events like this.”

He and the others, including 22 volunteers from St. Joseph’s College, another sponsor, and 27 from the Patchogue-Medford High School Key Club, were greeted and thanked by Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Christopher Soller.

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They were then given some safety tips before getting marching orders, with some people heading out by car or by paddle board.

The volunteers also got to interact with Bellport artist Dave Adams, who worked on his spin art and reappropriation art in the field next to the ferry terminal.

They also got to learn about the marine environment through an interactive touch-tank showcased by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.

“I’ve always enjoyed the access I’ve had to the restaurants and the [Blue Point} brewery,” said another volunteer, Keenan Boyle of West Sayville, who kayaks and paddle boards on Patchogue River. “I want to continue to enjoy it.”

Blue Point Brewery was a driving-force behind Sunday’s cleanup, Soller said, as was FINS, St. Joseph’s and the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, with volunteers also lending a hand from Patchogue-Medford Library, the Patchogue Theatre and other groups.

Click here to learn the story behind the cleanup.

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Rich VonRauchhaupt (middle, green) and other volunteers check-in at the Watch Hill Ferry terminal.


Tracy Marcus of Cornell and Allie Sliney, a FINS intern from New Hampshire, at the touch tank.


Sliney handles a horseshoe crab on her own.


FINS Superintendent Christopher Soller thanks the volunteers and event sponsors.


The Patchogue-Medford High School Key Club had the largest contingent of volunteers.


The Moku Lua Paddle Tribe brought some paddle boarders to pitch in.


FINS facilities manager Jim Dunphy took some volunteers out on a boat.


The Harbor Crab Co. and its Barefoot Princess party boat that’s docked in the river.


David Kennedy with the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce scoops up some cardboard.


Paddle boarders clearing trash from the reeds near the old Hess terminal


David Adams works on his spin art and reappropriation art next to the ferry terminal.


FINS employees carting away some trash that was cleared from the river and the riverbanks.


High School Key Club members outside Off Key Tikki on River Avenue. (courtesy)