Earth Day: Cleaning up in Troy

Troy Earth Day cleanup:photo credit Mary Rynasko.jpg

Saturday's Earth Day weekend clean-up in Troy

By Kim M.

soapbox badgeSpring is here!

I don't know about you, but sometimes I've needed to remind myself of that after this warm winter. I am dying for another chance to throw open the windows and get inspired to do some much needed cleaning.

While my apartment remains a stale pigsty, I got started on some spring cleaning yesterday by celebrating Earth Day -- our annual chance to organize a little frenzied cleaning of our public spaces.

Actually, thanks in part to the warm winter, my neighborhood group in Troy got a head start on cleaning up our little corner of the world. Two months in a row we were able to get a small group together for a few hours to pick up some of the trash that has been littering our streets.

In neighborhoods like mine, this is about more than picking up trash.

There can be a severe disconnect between the people that live in my area, and the neighborhoods they live in. By maintaining a presence in our neighborhood throughout the year, picking up litter or sweeping a curb, we can encourage others to make an effort.

What is a hopeless cause for one person can be be attainable by a group. A caring, collaborative attitude is infectious -- especially when there are kids around. Kids love to join in and be part of a group, especially the really little ones.

I once had a neighbor who, well, would just throw trash on the ground. She had two little daughters. One time we were doing a clean up and her daughters came over and just started helping me. I wanted to cry.

On Saturday my group cleaned the park and the vacant lot on 10th Street, ate hot dogs, and spent time with the people who joined us. We wanted to clean, but we also wanted to develop a sense of community.

Our monthly clean-ups are part of a larger "Cleaner and Greener Community Campaign" designed to instill pride in our neighborhood by (1) reducing the daily affronts of litter and trash through education and behavior changes, (2) green the community with plantings, and (3) beautifying the neighborhood with community art projects.

We are working closely with folks at School 2, who are incorporating numerous projects throughout the year to support this effort. This fall we provided the school with brightly painted trash cans for each grade level so that students could sign them and pledge not to litter. These cans will be used on the school grounds to encourage children to pick up litter they see. Every little bit helps, but when we all pitch in, we can truly make a noticeable difference.

I always find the coordination between the volunteer groups and the city crews inspiring during the flurry that is Earth Day. Once again the city of Troy provided lawn bags to volunteer groups for this citywide clean-up event and crews were out picking up the bags that we filled.

Earth Day is great, but what can we do during the rest of the year? It doesn't take that much time. My group dedicates about an hour once a month . We know people notice, and we feel like we're contributing to the community. That feeling can put a smile on your face for the rest of the day. Just knowing that you did something. Not just for you, but for other people.

Kim loves Troy even more than you do.

Kim on the Soapbox:
+ Lessons from Marcia
+ Can you feel the love?
+ National Night Out
+ Children at Play
+ Hoosick Street: Future UFO landing site
+ Stop wining and do something about it
+ Good neighbors check in to make sure you haven't frozen to death

Photo: Mary Rynasko/TRIP

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