To coincide with Earth Day recognized on April 22, Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB) hosted its annual Community Cleanup on April 27 where it invited local community members to help come out and help clean up trash left at Washoe County parks. The 2019 Community Cleanup proved to be successful as roughly 855 volunteers came out to the 31 parks in the Reno/Sparks area, safely disposing of 47 tons of trash and 21 tons of green waste. Volunteers also planted 30 trees and 500 flowers.
In Sparks alone, 28 volunteers showed up to the Community Cleanup in Rock Park, 36 helped at Pah Rah Park, and 10 volunteers removed trash from Wildcreek.
“We always love working with the City of Sparks because we get a great turnout from the community and the (city staff) is so supportive,” says KTMB Program Manager Lorian McConnell.
Unfortunately, Wildcreek is still a large illegal dump site due to its easy access. KTMB volunteers almost filled up a whole 30-yard dumpster of waste whereas collected more green waste at other parks. Since much of the illegal waste ends up in Wildcreek Park’s ravine and into the tributary that flows down into the Truckee River, hazardous waste could end up in the community’s water supply.
“We encourage anyone who spots illegal dumping to call (775) 329-DUMP when they notice it happening or report it through the app which immediately contacts the sheriff’s office,” McConnell says.
“Illegal dumping is a complex issue, but we are making progress on addressing it in our community through increased patrolling, cleanups and education”, says Christi Cakiroglu, KTMB’s Executive Director. “We work to connect our community with important resources and education, such as KTMB’s Recycling Guide, to help prevent these problems before they occur, as well as organizing the cleanup efforts for our community,” she adds.
Alongside KTMB’s cleanup effort, the eighth graders at Dilworth STEM Academy also participated in last Saturday’s Community Cleanup as part of their second semester Global Studies class. Instead of following a lesson plan of essays and presentations, their teacher Stacy Jones opted to pursue a more interactive, hands-on assignment of participating in the cleanup and a small fundraising effort.
“About 20 of the students volunteered at Rock Park, the closest one to our school,” Jones says. The other part of the assignment was to email fellow teachers at Dilworth and ask if they could give a small presentation to their classes about KTMB and their role in the community, as well as if students would be willing to donate their pocket change to the cause.
“We only accepted pennies, nickels, dimes, nothing over a one-dollar bill,” Jones says. “They couldn’t just march into the room and ask for donations…this was a life lesson in public speaking and learning how to deal with being told ‘no’,” she says. The Global Studies classes, which focus on climate change and current events, only accepted small pocket change to donate to KTMB.
Then on April 30th in a special school assembly, the Global Studies classes presented KTMB with all of the pocket change the students collected.
“We (gave) them the massive amounts of coin, it’s hefty,” she says. “But we want them to see the effort that the kids went through; giving them all of change collected makes more of an impact. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m surprised at how generous these students are. I think we’re the first school that’s really taken the initiative to do a project like this and KTMB is so appreciative,” Jones adds.
For more information about Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, visit ktmb.org.