Tom Anspach wrestled 1,020 pounds of trash out of the Pigeon River around the Canton Recreation Park over the past year nearly single-handedly.
The magnanimous effort landed Anspach the title of volunteer of the year by Haywood Waterways Association. Anspach took on the task of dredging trash from the Pigeon through Haywood Waterways Adopt-A-Stream program.
“I live on the Pigeon River,” Anspach said. “I canoe and swim in it all year and love it. I was getting depressed at the amount of trash in the river and wanted to do something about it. After my first clean up I was hooked.”
Other organizations recognized by Haywood Waterways in 2010 include:
• Haywood Community College, Partner of the Year. HCC has been a champion of sustainability and low impact development projects, including working towards storm water neutrality on campus. The college has not only led by example, but taken an active role in community sustainability efforts: HCC President Rose Johnson co-chairs the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce Green Business Initiative; wildlife and biology students are active in the Adopt-A-Stream program; the college hosts an Earth Day celebration, and the annual Big Sweep is coordinated by a college instructor.
• Pigeon River Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina received the Pigeon River Award. Pigeon River Fund is a significant funding source for projects that protect water quality in Haywood County. Over the years the Pigeon River Fund has awarded over $2 million to organizations in Haywood County.
The awards, accompanied by framed photographs of a local stream by nature photographer Ed Kelley, were presented at Haywood Waterways annual banquet in December.