It’s amazing in early spring to look into the woods and see beyond tree trunks and thickets, that in summer are covered in leaves, all the way to the ground. We like to walk in the woods at this time of the year, when you can follow the outline of the land and explore without poison ivy and bugs. It’s also a great time to pick up trash.
I carried a plastic grocery bag with us on a walk to our neighborhood creek this week, and filled the bag in about two minutes. It’s a beautiful place, and when summertime foilage is fully grown you see almost no trash. Now, I see it tangled with dried cattails and among the stubs of wilted grass. Most of it ends up there, I think, accidentally when wind knocks over trash cans.
Whether it's noticed or not, garbage that collects in and around streams pollutes water. This creek feeds into a larger creek and eventually a river that supplies regional drinking water. It also is home to fish, frogs and a large blue heron. I picked up plastic bottles, a rusting can of silly string and an empty engine oil container – I wouldn’t want any of that in my drinking water.
I could’ve easily filled two extra-large garbage bags with what was still on the ground. As we walked home, I started plotting a neighborhood creek cleanup party. Get lots of families involved, offer incentive prizes, have a picnic afterwards. It still sounds like a great idea. But Younger Son wanted me to play Legos, and I had laundry to do and dinner to start. So the plan got shelved for now. In the meantime, I will keep carrying bags on our walks. I bet I fill a few more this spring.
Tips for Cleaning Up Your Creek:
- Protect your hands with gloves or "wear" a plastic bag on your hand like a glove.
- Carry a bag for recyclable materials and another for trash, and deposit in appropriate bins.
- Parks need help cleaning up, too. Check out trail associations and park events around you for organized cleanup days.
|Not my creek, fortunately. I'm not sure where this is, but yuck!|