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One Man’s Treasure

Submitted by February 17, 2011 2:11 pm

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Most days I walk to the office along the Greenways trails passing Miller and Butte Creeks. In my travels I often pass birds, dogs, college students hurrying to class, high school students in less of a hurry, and an interesting variety of trash. This morning it was mostly a combination of plastic bags, glass bottles, and cigarettes, with a salting of forgotten mittens and a jacket that looked like it had been there since the last snow fall. This section of creek is both one of the most beautiful and one of the most densely trash-infested – an odd juxtaposition, but not an unusual one for our area.

This year Prescott Creeks will once again host the annual Granite Creek Cleanup. It will take place Saturday, April 23rd from 9 am at Granite Creek Park. Every year hundreds of people gather for this unique community event and in approximately two hours pull anywhere between three and eight tons of trash from our local creeks and lakes. All this is done with the support of the City, local businesses, and even more volunteers with the sole intent to make Prescott a healthier, more beautiful place for everyone.

But three tons of trash . . . how much is that really? What is it comprised of? Why do we get at least that much EVERY year? Can you imagine what our town would look like if the Cleanup didn’t happen? And, perhaps most importantly, what can we do to change this?

What we find during that Cleanup can vary, but the basics seem to be consistent. Our experience is that the creeks contain some pretty interesting stuff – big and small. There are tires, car parts, water heaters, large pieces of metal that were probably something at some point but are now semi-flat blobs, furniture, and various other large and potentially fascinating trashes. We also see plenty of bags, bottles, papers, political signs, bottle caps, shoes, toys, and lots of balls. For some reason Watson Woods attracts plenty of golf balls.

large_2011_NELA-WWWe’re trying something different this year to help remove trash that would otherwise go to the landfill and to educate everyone about the type of trash found in our waterways. This year Prescott Creeks is adding art to the Cleanup. We’re encouraging participants to separate out anything that could be made into art projects and keep those items in designated bags. The art materials can then either be brought back to the Park, where a celebration and art-material-separation will ensue, or can be piled at the pickup locations where volunteers will retrieve the materials.

We are looking for people to take some of the materials with them and turn the trash into art. Later this year we will be hosting an art show and auction (details to follow) where we can all enjoy the artistic talents of our community, and learn more about what was in our creeks. We are also planning an on-site interactive art project for the day of the Cleanup where everyone who comes back after Cleaning up can participate in making art. All of this is something very new and different for us. There might be a little bit of muddling through this first year as we figure out how this works.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the Cleanup. If you would like to continue seeing our creeks and lake cleaned up and want to support this annual effort, contact me at our Prescott Creeks office number.

Pre-registration is also available through our website and will make the check in for that morning go smoother. We look forward to seeing you all there and hope that many of you participate in making treasure out of what was once trash.