Pounds of stinky, crumpled cigarette butts. Bushels of discarded plastic grocery bags. Enough newsprint to fell a dozen trees. These are among the targets of scores of eco-minded citizens and Twin Cities government teams, who will pitch in, clean up or collect massive amounts of trash on April 11 in St. Paul and April 18 in Minneapolis.
Both cities have organized the events (most revolving around Earth Day, April 22) to “beautify” city streets, neighbors’ yards and even help charities. The following is a list of green goings-on in both towns.
• A whopping 41 locations throughout Minneapolis will be spiffed-up from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 18 during the 15th annual Minneapolis Parks & Recreation’s Watershed Clean-up Day. No preregistration to volunteer is required, according to the event site, but groups of 20 or more should contact Minneapolis Parks District Recreation Coordinator Arik Rudolph at (612) 230-6484. Each site has a registration table where gloves, bags and clean-up directions will be provided.
In 2008, a record 2,800 volunteers removed over 22,500 pounds of trash at 36 cleanup locations in neighborhoods, parks and watersheds throughout Minneapolis.
• In Northeast, Bottineau Neighborhood is turning Earth Day into an all-day event (starting with a 5K, ending with a trip to Minnesota Raptor Center).
• In Southwest, the 2009 Minneapolis Recycle Run will be held the morning of April 19, beginning at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, 4135 Lake Harriet Parkway. In a particularly green move, those who go paperless and register online will have the $3 service fee waived. $25 for the 5K, $10 for kids half-mile run.
• St. Paul Parks & Recreation is encouraging residents to pick a park and clean it up. The Spring Parks Cleanup and Neighborhood Litter Campaign will be held from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, April 11. Kickoff Celebrations are from 8:30 to 9 a.m.
• For the second year, St. Paul Public works will be handing out orange garbage bags to volunteer garbage-pickers at two locations – the Minnesota Environmental Fund, 450 Syndicate St. N., or the Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center, 800 Conway St. – from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 11. St. Paul Public Works, through the city’s “Invest St. Paul” program, is targeting litter in four neighborhoods: portions of Dayton’s Bluff, Payne-Phalen, Thomas-Dale and the North End.
• For the last 20 years, 54,000 volunteers have removed over 390,000 pounds of trash during the Spring Parks Clean-Up, according to a news release.
• According to District Council Coordinator Diane Wanner, St. Paul’s district council spring clean ups will be held from May-September. These include clean ups in districts 1, 2, and a joint clean up by districts 10,11,12,13 held on a yet-to-be determined date, sometime in the fall, Wanner said. She encouraged readers to check with their respective councils for specific dates and times.
Summit Hill Neighborhood will provide a drop-off site for residents’ recyclable materials and reusable items from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 16 at Pleasant Avenue and Victoria Street. While the drop-off is limited to Summit Hill residents only, anyone can volunteer for the recycling effort.
Summit Hill’s Executive Director Jeff Roy says the clean-up day goes beyond simply cleaning up the community.
“It’s broader than that,” he said, “it’s the whole idea of reduce, reuse, recycle. From the broader perspective of our environment, we’re all keenly aware of how much pressure is being put on the environment in many ways in terms of landfills, quality of air and water. So, each generation needs to be taught that this is part of the larger picture, to do your part locally.”
Those who do volunteer at the Summit Hill drop-off will receive a free lunch, a breakfast item and can dispose of one load of materials for no charge. Patrons are charged depending on the size of the load, Roy said. Information or to volunteer: call Jeff, (651) 222-1222. Reusable items will be offered to Bridging, Inc., which provides furniture for families in need.
Steven Pease is a Minneapolis writer.