Local Cub Scouts clean up, commemorate Earth Day
By Jessica Blomquist
As people become more environmentally conscious, they celebrate Earth Day by planting trees, starting a compost pile or learning about recycling, among other earth-friendly ideas.
For this year’s Earth Day, Cub Scout Pack 91, partnered with Wal-Mart, participated in a road clean-up on Fairgrounds Road in Madison on Saturday, April 19.
“We have to pick [trash] up and take care of the Earth,” said den leader Nancy Brock.
Starting at 11 a.m., the road was closed to traffic to provide safety to the eight scouts, four leaders and three parents who picked up trash alongside the road.
Linda Thoman, volunteer facilitator of Keep Morgan Beautiful, donated black garbage bags, gloves and hand sanitizer to the scouts.
The group collected trash along the approximately three-quarters of a mile stretch of road, picking up plastic soda bottles, paper trash, beer bottles, cigarette butts and other litter from the side of the road.
Brock said that a pair of blue jeans and two wallets were the most unusual finds during the road clean-up.
After filling sixteen large bags with trash, the group went to Wal-Mart where they were treated to a lunch of hotdogs and other refreshments. Each scout also went home with a reusable grocery shopping bag made of recycled plastic soda bottles.
“I think everybody had a good time,” said Brock.
Scouts who participated in the road clean-up will earn an Earth Day patch for their uniforms.
This was the first Earth Day project that the pack has organized.
“People are paying more attention to [Earth Day] and trying to do something for it,” said Brock.
Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22. According to the Earth Day Network, the first Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and was organized in 1970 by Denis Hayes, a graduate student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Since then, people around the world annually make a commitment to making the earth cleaner and healthier.
In addition to the road clean-up, Pack 91 is still working hard to collect plastic bags for their recycling project. The group, in a partnership with the Trex Company of Winchester, Va., is collecting plastic bags to be recycled into composite lumber to make benches for area parks.
Brock estimates that the group has collected approximately 5,500 plastic bags so far, though that number increases every day as people in the community bring in their bags.
Wayne Burnham, a fifth-grade teacher at Morgan County Elementary School, has contacted Brock after hearing about the project in hopes of organizing a school-wide plastic bag drive the week after spring break.
“He says he’s expecting to get 10,000 to 20,000 bags,” said Brock.
Bag donations can still be made at the Scout Hut behind the 911 building and the courthouse.