What is Rouge Rescue?
Rouge Rescue is an annual river clean up event where volunteers from around southeast Michigan come together at numerous work sites to restore a clean and healthy Rouge River environment. Volunteers do a variety of projects including trash pickup to improve park aesthetics, woody debris management to reduce localized bank erosion, invasive species removal to improve habitat quality, garden installations and tree plantings to support birds, butterflies and pollinators, and educational activities to promote stewardship of local residences while improving the Rouge River ecosystem for future generations. Please see Find Work Site by Activity to see what sites have to offer.
When and where do activities take place?
Rouge Rescue is a multi-site event happening at a number of locations all across the watershed. Our main day for events is Saturday May 18 with some events held from the end of April to the beginning of June. Please see the Rouge Rescue Events page to see when and where a local Rouge Rescue is taking place!
Can I go to any event?
Some events are held by companies or organizations for their employees and their families only. Be sure to verify what sites are open to the public beforehand by checking the Rouge Rescue Work Sites.
What should I bring?
It is recommended to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, preferably long sleeves and pants for most activities to avoid injury. Please wear sturdy closed toed shoes. Feel free to bring a water or snack with you as some sites may not offer these, but be sure to take the trash back with you.
If your site is participating in trash cleanup, you can bring long grabbers. If your site is participating in woody debris management in the river, you can bring your own waders. Bug spray and sunscreen are also recommended.
If you would like to be a designated site photographer, please bring your own camera to take photos. Please sign up ahead of time online so we can let your site coordinator know. Please email Jackie for more info.
I have limited mobility, are there activities I can participate in?
Yes! There are lots of activates at a site for those with limited mobility or have difficulty bending or lifting. Please note that most Rouge Rescue events are in parks with the possibility of limited paved walkways near event activities. Some sites may need assistance with volunteer sign in, passing out t-shirts or taking pictures of the event. Please contact your site coordinator to verify how you can help.
What if there is bad weather?
A little rain only helps the flowers grow, so we try not to cancel any event. For the safety of volunteers, if there is recent heavy rainfall, sites may not be able to work in or nearby the river if levels are too high or the current is too strong. Sites may also provide a rain date for the event if necessary.
Can I bring my children?
Volunteers of all ages are welcome! Children 12 or under must have adult supervision. See “kid-friendly” sites to find activities near you.
Can I bring a group?
The more the merrier! If you are having a large group coming as a volunteer event for an organization, we ask you to please contact the site coordinator directly or Jackie to let us know you’re coming. If you have volunteers who are under 18, please print and bring the liability waiver signed by the parent with you to the event.
Do we go in the river?
Some sites may. Although Rouge Rescue is traditionally a river cleanup event, more sites have expanded their opportunities to include trash cleanup, invasive plant removal, and more! Check out the Rouge Rescue Work Site by Activity page and see which sites are working in or near the river. Working in the river may be dependent on recent rainfall or other weather.
If you are volunteering planning on working in the river, please review the Health Advisory first. The river is much cleaner and safer than in the past because of volunteers like you helping at Rouge Rescue since 1986!
Have another question you want answered?
Please email Jackie for any other questions or concerns.