Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Looking for a family volunteer activity? Try Cary's fall litter sweep

Posted October 6, 2015

I've had plenty of discussions with parents, looking for volunteer activities that their families can do together. Here's one!

Cary's Fall Litter Sweep was rescheduled to this Saturday because of last weekend's rainy weather. They need volunteers as some scheduled to help last week had to drop out this weekend because they are busy.

The sweep, cleaning up parks, trails and other outdoor spaces, will take place in rotating shifts from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., this Saturday. The sessions run about 90 minutes each. And they are appropriate, as Sarah Justice, the town's environmental outreach program coordinator, tells me, for all "ages and stages."

Justice said the town works to find projects along greenways or in parks with playgrounds when families sign up. Volunteers under 15 must be with an adult to participate.

"They would be in a safe location to collect litter with an adult in a place that is appropriate for their age range," Justice said.

During the sweep, the town provides the tools to safely collect recyclables and trash for proper disposal. Volunteers can sign up for the litter sweep's official locations. They also can find other spots that are important to them - a town park that they always play at or a greenway where they always walk the dog, for instance. Justice can help individuals and groups focusing on these satellite sites by providing them with the supplies and tools they'll need.

The goal with the program isn't just to beautify our outdoor spaces, but also to protect creeks, rivers and oceans. Other park systems in the region also participate in similar efforts. You don't need to be a Cary resident to participate in this one.

"A good portion of the litter ends up in a stream and makes its way to rivers and oceans," Justice said. "This is a national campaign that we have a regional participation in for clean and healthy water ways."

Last year, 3,725 volunteers in Cary's Spruce program collected more than 27,000 pounds of litter. In part, because of volunteer help during these biennial sweeps, North Carolina ranks third in the nation in pounds of litter collected. (A similar event is held in the spring).

To register for Saturday's event, email or call 919-469-4301 by 5 p.m., Oct. 8.

Justice said the town also has ongoing projects all year and welcomes families and groups to sign up for the adopt a spot program and other efforts. There are lots of opportunities here for families, scout girls, high schoolers, youth groups, playgroups and more. You also can see the latest on the Cary It Green Facebook page.


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