Jeff Butler and Kelly Hilovsky pose with their dog, Chance. They will be organizing a cleanup at Chickasaw Park Thursday. | Photo courtesy United by Blue

Three organizations are teaming up for a waterway cleanup Thursday night at Chickasaw Park.

United by BlueKentucky Waterways Alliance and Quest Outdoors are hosting one of 21 waterways cleanups that United by Blue’s Bluemovement road trip is facilitating nationwide this summer to establish community partnerships between specialty retailers, conservation or municipal partners, and volunteers.

Cleanups are happening at 21 sites this summer. | Photo courtesy United by Blue

United by Blue is an apparel company that focuses on sustainable outdoors clothing.

According to the company, the founder and CEO Brian Linton grew up in Singapore and was fascinated with oceans and marine life while growing up in Southeast Asia.

He noticed a discrepancy in beaches: some were beautiful and some were littered with trash because of the way ocean’s currents moved, said Jeff Butler, who is leading the cleanup effort in Louisville with Kelly Hilovsky.

For every United by Blue product sold, a pound of trash is removed from a waterway by United by Blue staff or volunteers, and so far more than a million pounds have been removed, Butler said.

Thursday’s event will focus on cleaning up the trash within Chickasaw Park, in heavily used areas of the park and the riverbanks. Picking up the trash before it enters the Ohio River prevents it from harming wildlife, as well as leaves the park a cleaner and healthier place to play.

Butler and Hilovsky are traveling the country this summer with Bluemovement to organize events all over the U.S., visiting 21 sites and driving 7,500 miles. The two are taking breaks from their careers in technology and community health advocacy to lead this effort.

At each site of the cleanups, Butler and Hilovsky leave a Blue Friday kit with their local retail partner. Blue Fridays are cleanup efforts led by the retailers so that the effort to keep waterways clean continues after Bluemovement has moved on, Hilovsky said.

“One thing we like to leave our cleanup crew with is that the biggest thing they can do to protect our waterways is to reduce the use of single-use plastic, like water bottles,” she said. “Those are the most common things that we find on our cleanups. For that reason, we actually give out reusable stainless steel cups, just to reinforce that there are little, small habits that you can do to keep land-based trash out of our waterways.”

The event will be 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, 1200 Chickasaw Park, Southwestern Parkway, 40211. Bluemovement will provide all cleanup supplies, snacks and drinking water. Volunteers are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes that they don’t mind getting dirty or wet. To learn more about the cleanup, call 215-278-7858 ext. 4, or email [email protected]

Lisa Hornung a native of Louisville and has worked in local media for more than 15 years as a writer and editor. Before that she worked as a writer, editor and photographer for community newspapers in Kansas, Ohio and Kentucky. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia, and after a 20-year career in journalism, she obtained a master’s degree in history from Eastern Kentucky University in 2016.


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