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Palisades Clean-Up Volunteers Flock To Fort Lee

Lillian Simhon, 10, clears leaves near Ross Dock in Fort Lee during the Jewish Youth Encounter volunteer cleanup event. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Event organizer Margot Moss volunteers hours ahead of a group meeting at Ross Dock in Fort Lee as part of her Palisades Meet-Up Clean-Up group. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Members of Jewish Youth Encounter assist park's cleanup organizer Margot Moss with a volunteer project. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Sabrina, 12, Cassidy 10, and Jennifer, 7 with their father, Gary Burns. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule
Jennifer and Cassidy Burns volunteer during the cleanup. Photo Credit: Melissa Heule

FORT LEE, N.J. -- The type of debris didn't matter to a group of young volunteers from Teaneck who did their part on Sunday to tidy up sections of Palisades Interstate Park.

"The most common items are water bottle tops, soda tabs and straws," said organizer Margot Moss, as members of the Youth Jewish Encounter program kept busy during the monthly "Palisades Meet-Up Clean-Up."

"It's all of the little stuff," Moss said, while collecting wrappers and cigarette butts from a pathway.

Christine Fehre, the park's director of trails and outdoor programs, helped Moss make the project a reality.

The group meets at Ross Dock in Fort Lee each month, dons orange identification vets and heads to the Englewood Boat Basin, the Rockefeller Lookout in Englewood Cliffs, or other areas in need along the Palisades.

Park administrators supply gloves, trash bags, tools and refreshments.

"We're here all year," Moss said. "In the winter, I have volunteers break up the ice on the steps."

More than a dozen members of Jewish Youth Encounter in Teaneck helped Moss with debris around stairs and structural edges.

“It’s about getting the kids involved and giving back,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Weinberger, the coordinator for The Center for Jewish Identity. Some of the youngsters are working on their mitzvah projects.

“I think the best way is to hold the event on a regularly timed schedule like the first of the month," said Moss, who has missed only one clean-up in four years. "That way, we don't have to worry about RSVP's and emails.

"After a while, I know the regulars,” Moss said.


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