AUSTIN — Check out how people in Austin can help keep their community clean.

Literally, you can check out litter grabbers from the Austin Public Library.

The Cedar River Watershed District, the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center and the Austin Public Library used funds from an Austin Area Foundation grant to purchase 20 litter grabbers.

People can use their Austin Public Library library card to check out up to five of the 4-foot grabbers. Having them available in convenient locations will make it easier for people to organize their own cleanup efforts or just tidy up an area while out for a walk.

Tim Ruzek, CRWD outreach coordinator, said that convenience will encourage more good behavior in a community that already pitches in to keep the area clean.

“Many people enjoy keeping our community clean and looking nice, and these litter grabbers are aimed at helping more of those efforts happen more often,” Ruzek said. “For water, these grabbers will help with river and shoreline cleanups along with other litter pickups that will keep trash from being washed into our streams.”

Rusk said several groups have already used the litter grabbers this summer. The Hormel Nature Center used them during its annual Water Festival cleanup efforts. Volunteers used the grabbers to clean the Cedar River State Water Trail from the Dobbins Creek confluence to the South Main Street bridge. Spruce Up Austin also used the grabbers for their annual cleanup in June along East Side Lake in Austin.

Last month, Riverland Community College’s ag club and R-STEP Academy students used the grabbers to clean shorelines around Austin’s Mill Pond. Volunteers used the gear to remove litter from the Cedar River between Mower County Road 4 and the Iowa border.

If you don’t have an Austin library card but spend time in the area or on the Cedar River, grabbers and cleanup equipment can be checked out from the Cedar River Watershed District or the Hormel Nature Center.

That is, if someone hasn’t already grabbed them.

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General Assignment Reporter

John joined the Post Bulletin in May 2018. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2004 with degrees in Journalism and Japanese. Away from the office, John plays banjo, brews beer, bikes and is looking for other hobbies that begin with the letter “b.”