I brought pruners and gloves to last week’s American University Campus Beautification Day cleanup at Windom Park by WAMU. I should have brought climbing gear instead.
When I arrived a little after 9:00 the morning of April 13th, I saw volunteers cleaning out the planters at the front of WAMU’s headquarters. Andrew Huff, the head of community relations at AU, greeted me and introduced me to the others. He then mentioned they had already picked up loads of cigarette butts that didn’t make it into the one canister left out there to collect them.
Huff and I then went around the back to the small parklet on Windom Place to see what else we could do. There wasn’t much. Andrew Ray had done a great deal of work last year for his Eagle Scout project. It still looked great, with new flowers blooming. All I needed to do was cut away some of the dead plant growth, which took about 10 minutes.
After deliberating for a while, Huff started to tackle the loads of trash stuck to the steep incline where the park meets Soapstone Valley. I soon followed. I found a toilet, a jacket and a blanket among the plastic bags, glass bottles, aluminum cans, and lots of paper. The jacket was in good condition, and I took it home to wash and give away. We got to about a third of the trash we could see.
Huff and I decided that for next year, a much more efficient way to collect trash would be to rappel down the steep slope. We both wondered whether AU had a rock climbing club who might be interested in a community service project. I would sign up for the job.