Duluth Clean and Green Week puts focus on sustainabilityThe City of Duluth is taking spring cleaning outdoors. The parks and recreation department is seeking volunteers to take part in Clean and Green Week, an annual effort to clean up parks and public spaces after the snow melts.
The City of Duluth is taking spring cleaning outdoors.
The parks and recreation department is seeking volunteers to take part in Clean and Green Week, an annual effort to clean up parks and public spaces after the snow melts. The celebration officially runs April 8-14, but the cleaning will continue into May.
“The intent of the week is to put some dedicated time into cleaning and carry that through the spring, not just that one week,” said Cheryl Skafte, volunteer coordinator for Duluth Parks and Recreation.
Sustainability will be a big part of the event this year, and the week will kick off with a launch event at the site of the new Lincoln Park Community Garden. Mayor Don Ness and representatives of the Boys and Girls Club will be on hand at the kickoff at 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 8, at the park.
This year’s emphasis is on “cleanups and greenups,” making the community garden the perfect fit, Skafte said.
“We want to highlight the importance of not only cleaning, but also greening,” she said. “Publicly launching the Lincoln Park Community Garden and having the kickoff there will add that focus to it. We want to support the community gardens, the backyard gardens, and show that we can have a sustainable landscape.”
The Clean and Green effort in Duluth dates back to 1996, although the city has long had volunteer-based spring cleanup programs. This year, Ness has set the goal of recruiting volunteers for more than 1,000 hours of cleanup.
As of early last week, at least 12 groups had signed up to participate, with more in the works, according to Jesse Meehl of True North AmeriCorps, a partner with the city.
“There are still numerous spots if people are interested,” he said. “We’ve already had a lot of people sign up. We’ve got high school students doing work at Wade Stadium. We have some groups working on the Lakewalk and Park Point. The YMCA has some students on spring break who will be doing some projects as well.”
Groups can pick a location to clean up or work with the city to find an area. A lot of it depends on the size of the group, Skafte said.
Most of the work involves picking up litter that gets buried under the snow during the winter. When the snow melts, a lot of garbage tends to turn up, Skafte said.
“Duluth gets hidden under beautiful snow every year, but in the spring when it melts, it’s not quite as pretty of a scene as we’d want it to be,” she said. “Along with street sweeping,
the cleaning helps us get Duluth looking like it’s supposed to look in spring and summer.”
Some locations will also see other volunteer work. A group at Hartley Nature Center will be checking for invasive species. And on Park Point, volunteers will be doing dune sweeping around the beach house.
The late arrival of winter this could be an obstacle for the cleanup effort, Skafte said. Although they’re hoping for a slow and steady thaw, some of the cleanup could be rescheduled for later in the spring if the snow sticks around, she said.
Volunteerism not only saves the city money and resources, but allows for a much greater cleanup effort, Skafte said.
“The city has made a commitment to working with the public. It’s a priority,” she said. “The parks department is amazing, but there’s more garbage out there than one entity could possibly take care of. The more people involved, the more we can do. We know we can’t get everything done by ourselves, but we do more by working together.”
To volunteer a group or to obtain more information, contact Skafte at (218)730-4334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duluth Parks and Recreation has tentatively scheduled the following community events during Clean and Green Week. Please call (218)730-4334 to confirm participation.