we were assigned to pull weeds, but asked if we could wait for a trash crew instead. (we spent a day pulling invasive ivy at the audubon society in portland last year and frankly, care to never do it again. it's back-breaking labor!) so, we got put on a different crew and started picking up trash. really, there wasn't that much where we were looking (and there was a rattle snake sighting which was a little unnerving) so after an hour, they told us we could get our trash sorted and counted and leave. what? leave? we were planning on working for 3 hours and our bucket was only about 1/4 of the way full.
we started walking back towards the parking lot and realized, with people cleaning off of the trails, that left a lot of cigarette butts and things on the trail itself. we cleaned as we walked until we got back to the parking lot and then spent another hour walking the perimeter of the parking lot picking up trash and cigarette butts. it seemed kind of funny that people were walking out to their designated spots to pick up trash, but were walking over so much trash on their way out there. when we finished with the parking lot, our bucket was darn near full! once we were done, the crew asked us what kinds of items we picked up and what the most unusual item we picked up was. thankfully, ours were pretty standard, mostly straws and straw wrappers, gum wrappers, styrofoam and cigarette butts. we felt lucky that we didn't find any needles or condoms!
i'm not writing this post for recognition or to brag, but to hopefully inspire. if you're never gotten out there, gotten your hands dirty, the back of your neck sunburned and dripped sweat like a boxer in the ring, you should try it! you may be surprised how good you feel at the end of it. or the next time you have an old appliance (in working order) that you're getting rid of, think of the local non-profits that may be able to use them. we're all on this big blue ball together and the more we all help each other out, the happier and healthier we and our future generations will be.