By Amanda Drane, The Valley Advocate, – Mar 10, 2015. In the thousands of years before European settlers arrived in the Valley, David Brule says, the Connecticut River basin was a place Native American tribes gathered peacefully to fish and farm.
Since then, humanity’s relationship with the river has grown much more complicated. Brule, who was born in Turners Falls and has lived along the river all his life, says he remembers when the waters of the Connecticut River would change color depending on what hues surrounding paper mills were dying their products that day.
This was when the Connecticut River was largely known as the longest natural sewer in America — a distinction from which people have been trying to separate the river for decades.
The passing of the Clean Water Act in the 1970s began the struggle to return the Connecticut to its natural state, but there’s still a lot of work to be done, according to the organizers of the River’s Song project — an art showcase that joins concern for the environment with arts and culture in a day of celebration and education.
The May 16 event at the Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls will be the culmination of a year’s worth of planning and study. The partnership between the UMass Fine Arts Center’s Asian Arts and Culture program, the Connecticut River Watershed Council, the Great Falls Discovery Center, and Turners Falls RiverCulture will feature family-friendly workshops focused on the Connecticut River, and a juried art show for works created using trash gathered along the river. They’re calling the event “Trash to Treasure.”
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