The "trashy" expedition I took today was to team up with some other volunteers in my Arkansas Master Naturalists group ( http://www.home.ArkansasMasterNaturalists.org/ ) for the purpose of picking up litter along one of our city's frequently traveled roadways. Our group had partnered with the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Campaign (http://www.keeparkansasbeautiful.com/) that is running from March 1 through May 31. They are the ones that supplied a t-shirt, like those seen in the photo, to each of the volunteers today.
In addition to the t-shirt, the campaign headquarters furnishes other necessary items for trash pick-up, most of which are donated by the corporate sponsors of the event. This included Glad heavy duty trash bags, Nestle water, safety vests, disposable gloves, and (so I'm told--PRIZES!). However, any info I write about prizes will have to come in a blog post of the future, as there were no prize drawings this morning! The coordinator for today's event was Anita Hayden, who is shown in the top photo along with another member of the class, Lynn Green. That's me---armed for "combat"---in the bottom photo.
One thing I learned about roadside litter removal today, is that you spend as much time dealing with the briars and thorns, as you do the actual trash pick up. Lynn Green (the man with the green stick in above photo) escaped some of that, by using his handy, green "extricator" to get cans/bottles that had been thrown deep into a briar bush. I didn't use such a device, and as a result, my little orange safety vest was in shreds by the time I finished. But I fared better than Ken Johnson (shown in front in above photo). who was "attacked" in the face by a thorn bush, and got to try out the supplies in the first aid kit the campaign provides. Also assisting in the clean-up, but not pictured was Susan McNutt.
As I was picking up what seemed to be an endless string of trash that had been carelessly thrown out, from people in cars as they speeded down the road, I was reminded of the first part of one of my First Place 4 Health memory verses (http://www.firstplace4health/) that says "Do not defile the land where you live..." from Numbers 35:34a. In the First Place 4 Health program, we were discussing the verse in terms of not defiling our bodies---God's temple---by filling it with junk food and other harmful substances. Likewise, we need to not defile our beautiful Ozarks with unsightly litter and discarded junk. If such practices are offensive to you, there are two things you can do: First, get out there and pick up some trash!! Whenever you are out walking or hiking, always carry a bag with you that you can put any stray trash in that you come across. Secondly, SQUEAL!! To report littering, call 1-888-811-1222. Let's all work together so that our roadways will not provide "piles of ugliness", rather "miles of smiles"!! Happy weekend! Tricia