The springtime season brings much to New England: sunny skies, warmer temperatures, flowers, and of course trash. Wait, what?
OK, spring doesn’t technically bring trash; rather, it uncovers it after a long and cold (and snowy) winter season. How many people have found items in their backyard after the winter they completely forgot about? Imagine that, but all over town.
And, these aren’t items like lawn chairs or a baseball; instead, this is actual trash. It’s bottle, cans, plastic, whatever people decide to throw on the ground or whatever happens to just fall onto the ground. Fortunately, the environment has some dedicated people willing to spend time picking up all this trash.
One such person is 14-year old Wilmington resident Kyra Turner. After participating in the Wilmington Memorial Library’s Earth Day clean up event, she decided to up the ante: instead of one day of trash pick-up, how about 30? How about 30 bags of trash in 30 days? Therefore, Turner and her father spent the entire month of May collecting enough trash to fill 30 trash bags.
Because she’s still a student (eighth grade going into high school next year), Turner’s days were pretty full, so she and her father spent several hours each weekend traipsing through Wilmington collecting every empty bottle and can they could find.
She’s spent most of her time in the woodsy areas of town where she’s found an overabundance of alcohol bottles and cans including 100 whiskey bottles, plastic cups from Dunkin’ and just plastic in general.
While Turner admitted her younger brother helped out a little, it’s been almost exclusively her and her father braving the elements (and some of those days were quite warm with the teen and her father completely covered to avoid any kind of bugs or ticks in the woods). Of course, this past weekend was a soaker, but thankfully Turner only had a few more bags to collect.
Her goal consisted of finishing out the month, collecting the 30 bags of trash and then advertising what she did. She was very adamant she wanted to complete the task before she asked others to pitch in.
Her mother, Leica, called it the “ice bucket challenge” of trash clean up.
The 14-year old said she may reach out to her school about a trash day and then reach out to the town about making something more permanent. Perhaps a month in Wilmington dedicated to collecting trash and keeping Wilmington clean.
Where does the trash go? “The trash goes in the trash can every week,” Turner said, noting the family has about 10-12 bags of trash in their driveway (probably making them look like the messiest family on the block, except the mess belongs to other people and not them).
Turner said she and her father found some rather gnarly items, too, especially under the passover on Richmond Street and in the water: clothing (which she acknowledged can be disgusting when wet), a mangled traffic cone, a wicker basket, and an electrical circuit breaker box (not to mention a lunch box that was actually growing saplings). She and her father used rakes to grab some of the trash floating in the water.
In total, Turner raked in more than 550lbs of trash.
She said her father has been the navigator suggesting places they could go. They started at the library on Glen Road, then moved onto places like the Richmond Street area and the West Intermediate School. She doesn’t know where the dirtiest part is because they haven’t hit everywhere yet (they can also only go on town land and not private property).
Turner said this could become a twice a year endeavor in the fall and spring; however, she admitted the ordeal is time consuming and tiring.
“More people would help,” she said about recruiting assistance for future missions.
The 14-year old and her father not only cleaned up the wooded areas, they also cleaned up sidewalks and roadways.
For her next trick, Turner wants to spread the word and hopefully enlist others to help. She might use her parent’s Facebook to get the message out. If any proof of her accomplishments are needed, Turner said she takes a picture every time she and father return with more “loot.”
Now that her 30 days have ended, Turner can begin the task of promoting what she did and trying to encourage others to follow in her footsteps. Who knows, her good deed may inspire others to spend 30 days collecting 30 bags of trash.