With gloves on her hands and a couple of trash bags in one hand, Sandra Keels was just one of a dozen volunteers on Saturday to walk the banks of Hickory Creek in Morse Park to pick up trash.
Participants in the event – which was hosted by the Hickory Creek Stream Team – met at noon at the pavilion by Kwik Mart and walked down toward the low water bridge. The cleanup event is the first time for this year, however, they have held these cleanup for the past couple of years.
“I use the park every day, so it is important to me to have it clean environment to enjoy,” Keels said. “Usually, I find a Walmart bag along the way, so I just pick it up and use it as a trash bag. But otherwise, I just use my hands, two handfuls a day.”
Remarking on what type of trash she usually sees in the park, she said it varies.
“I would find baby diapers, but the most prevalent item is water bottles,” Keels said. “And the other thing that I would see is that synthetic marijuana wrappers down here. Also, prophylactics in the parking lots. But not one or two prophylactics, like six or seven in one spot.”
Within a matter of minutes, she had picked up a quarter of a trash bag filled with trash.
“I wish people would understand that the park belongs to all of us,” she said. “And so when someone is abusing it, I think that you should stand up and defend the park. You would if it was in your front yard.”
Neosho High School’s FCCLA advisor Vickie Walker brought out a couple of her students from the club to help pick up trash.
“We like to do service projects in the community,” Walker said. “We are out here to help, to clean up the community. I think that it is very important that they learn about their community and to learn how to give back to the community. The community helps us with fundraisers and different things that is how we travel to the conferences and stuff, I think that it is very important that we should give back to our community. And be a part of our community. Be proud of where we are out, and where we come from.”
On a personal note, Walker has used the park for picnics and family events.
“It is a wonderful area,” Walker added. “The parks, the schools, that is what draws people into our community and grows our community. I think that they are one of the most important things that brings outsiders in, make them feel at home and welcome.”
For more information, please email organizer Kent Oliver at Ollievee_14@yahoo.com.