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5 Fun Ways You Can Help the Environment

Volunteer activities can make Earth greener

4. Clean a stream

Nothing spoils a relaxing day on the river like finding broken glass, cigarette butts and empty beer or soda cans strewn over the banks. Litter not only sullies the appearance of streams and rivers but also can seriously contaminate these vital resources of drinking water and wildlife habitat.

That's where American Rivers steps in. Through the organization's National River Cleanup program, more than 60,000 volunteers cleared 2 million tons of trash from 6,000 miles of stream in 2010 alone. If you don't find an event scheduled near you, consider organizing your own through AARP's Create the Good program, which has partnered with American Rivers to sponsor new cleanups.

Time: Half a day to a full day.

Consider this: Wear comfortable, well-worn clothes. You'll get incredibly dirty — and a good workout, too!

Gear: Wear work boots — the sturdier the better. Also pack a sun hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, water and a snack.

Contact: American Rivers, 202-347-7550

Next: Park it with the National Park Service »

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Good Things You Can Do Yourself!