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The cities of Catoosa County are combining their efforts to beautify the shared community.

On Saturday, April 27, teams of citizen volunteers will embark on mission projects to spruce up the county's land and creeks as part of the Clean Catoosa initiative.

Though the team-up is technically new, the initiative was born from several different Earth Day cleanup efforts throughout the county, such as Ringgold's partnership with the newly formed nonprofit LIFT last April to complete 15 service and beautification projects within the city.

This year, the duo is joining forces with the city of Fort Oglethorpe and Catoosa County Parks and Recreation to consolidate service activities with their existing efforts, while adding more local organizations as partners.

"I'm very happy to be a part of this," said Ringgold Mayor Nick Millwood. "Last year we had a lot of rain, but people were out working hard. Seeing people committed to making the community a better place [was] wonderful, so to see it spread like this I appreciate everyone that's partnering."

Among the organizations joining the roster this year are Wild Trails, Lionhearts Fitness and the Tennessee Student Environmental Alliance (TenneSEA).

"Our water is a shared resource: everyone uses it and has a personal responsibility for taking care of it," said Mary Beth Sutton, executive director of TenneSEA, in a news release. "We hope that by connecting people to their waterways through these cleanup efforts we will encourage long-term stewardship of our water resources."

Projects undertaken throughout the morning will include trash pickup along roadsides, as well as beautification projects which will involve planting trees, restoring creek-side vegetation and reclaiming areas that have been neglected. There will also be a handful of creek cleanup projects that will require volunteers to board canoes, kayaks or paddleboards to get their hands dirty in South and West Chickamauga creeks.

The day of service will end with a community celebration at Northwest Georgia Amphitheatre from 1-3 p.m., where all will be able to enjoy good food, live music and interactive activities sure to keep environmental improvement at the forefront of everyone's minds.

With plenty on the agenda for the afternoon, guests will be able to participate in a community art project utilizing recycled trash, engage in butterfly and honeybee learning experiences, take part in a birdhouse building activity, or even decorate their own earth cookie.

Guests will also be able to learn more about environmental topics like recycling, composting and watershed protection from local groups manning educational booths throughout the event.

Registration for the projects began last week. To learn more about the project options and sign up to volunteer, visit catoosarec.com.

Email Myron Madden at mmadden@timesfreepress.com.

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