As an active outdoor person, I look forward to Earth Day every year. I enjoy the energy surrounding the day and seeing events and promotional materials encouraging people to get outside and either enjoy time in nature or get involved in a volunteer event. After checking my personal calendar and reviewing local volunteer activities, I decided that my Earth Day efforts would be of the more personal variety this year.
Trash and pollution are frequently in the news with plastic in the environment and its associated negative impact often lead stories. With a population of 6.5 million (as of 2016), the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex produces a significant amount of trash. Unfortunately, not all of this waste makes it to the landfill.
A friend of mine has a blog focused on urban natural areas and the amount of litter found in them (One Piece At A Time). He has often discussed how rivers and streams near cities can become so polluted. All it takes is a good strong rain and the litter seen on city streets is suddenly washed into a river or stream. From there it is carried to lakes and oceans. The streets may look cleaner, but the waterways are a disaster.
With these thoughts in mind, I decided to focus on picking up trash along a city street in my community that I have visited many times before. To be specific, I picked up trash along a 1.8 mile section of Mill Street in Lewisville, Texas. I started at the intersection of W. College Street and ended at Lake Park Road. This area is significant to me for a couple of reasons. It’s near Old Town Lewisville which is currently undergoing a good bit of urban renewal with lots of small business owners opening shops. A particularly charming aspect of this part of town is that there are open spaces amid the homes and businesses and even some pastures with furry friends grazing peacefully (the featured photo for this blog post shows some very interested, 4-legged observers of Earth Day that live alongside Mill Street). It’s near LLELA (Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area), one of my favorite urban nature areas in DFW. Finally, the strip of Mill Street that I chose crosses a creek (Prairie Creek) that feeds directly into the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, part of the Trinity River watershed, and is regularly in need of clean up.
If you’ve ever walked along city streets and you’re like me, it’s always a shock to see how much litter is out there. The photos below show the trash collected during my Earth Day activity. I should mention that I had help in this clean-up effort – it looks like I did this on my own and that is not true. I was simply the only person not camera-shy and wound up the focus of the photos. Thanks to my helpers!
That was my Earth Day volunteer activity. Tell me about yours!