"Click on images for
APRIL 23 - In celebration of Earth Day
2005, the community of Brookline came alive with the spirit
of environmental friendliness as over 100 residents took to the streets
as part of the PA Cleanways "Let's Pick It Up, PA" project, collecting
loads of litter from the roadways and parks. Part of the local effort
took place in Brookline Park, where over fifty neighborhood children and
adults came together at the Brookline Recreation Center, scouring the
landscape in and around the park. The results were stunning, as several
truckloads of trash were collected and hauled away.
The Cleanways Project here in
Brookline was coordinated by Dawn Miller and Ginny Bell of the South
Pittsburgh Development Corporation (SPDC), a local community action group. The
city-wide effort was directed by Carolyn Popp, a coordinator from the
Pennsylvania Resources Council. PA
Cleanways is actually
statewide effort to help eliminate illegal dumping and littering in
Pennsylvania. Throughout the state, nearly 200,000 residents joined in the
Here in Brookline, several neighborhood
teams, each led by members of SPDC, concentrated on different areas of the
community. At Brookline Park, the team leader was Clint Burton, an SPDC member
and an employee with the City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks and Recreation
at the Brookline Recreation Center. Despite a gloomy weather forecast that
included a steady drizzle, the Brookline Park team took to the fields at nine
o'clock and worked relentlessly until noon.
Clad in orange flourescent vests and
heavy duty utility gloves, Burton's litter prevention team covered over 20
acres of park land, ranging from the wooded hillsides adjacent to Breining
Street, around the ballfields and Recreation Building, then up the opposite
hillside towards Brookline Boulevard, and ending near the park entrance. In
three hours, the hard working children and parents managed to clear the land
of 65 bags of trash, nine tires, several street signs, metal poles, buckets,
plastic sheeting, a broken piano, discarded cellphones, construction debris
and other assorted junk.
After the garbage was collected, bagged
and set in piles for the city municipal crews, the hungry kids gathered at
the park pavilion for an after-party featuring pizza, chips and pop, provided
by local businesses and the City of Pittsburgh. When it was all over, the park
looked like it had been given a real Earth Day makeover, as the landscape once
strewn with unsightly trash was now free, clear and green. The only thing dirty
was the clothes on those who had given so much of their time and effort to
clean up their park.
When all was said and done, the team
leader was asked to name one outstanding individual, to be nominated as the top
scrounger for the Brookline Park crew. After some hesitation, he handed in a
list including all of the names of those who had contributed to the
"No one person stood out in my mind,"
said Burton. "Everyone here deserves an equal amount of praise. This was a
total team effort."
"I'd like to thank everyone who came
here today to help us out. They all did a marvelous job. Their dedication to
the task and the pride they showed in their park are an example of what Earth
Day is all about. I just wish that everyone in the community would learn from
this and work year-round to help keep our park, our community, and our city
free from litter."
As the clock approached two o'clock,
only a few stragglers remained to help tidy up the mess and await the city
municipal trucks. Among them was Jesse Vates, a nine year-old that frequents
the park to play.
"Can we do this again next week?", he
asked. "This was fun!"
The other kids with him chimed in with
"Well, maybe not next week, but I'm sure
we'll do it again sometime," was the reply.
"Did you learn anything today?", Jesse
and his friends were asked.
They all answered in unison, "DON'T
Here in Brookline, the PA Cleanways
effort was sponsored by the South Pittsburgh Development Corporation, Councilman
Jim Motznik, South Hills Printing, Kribel's Bakery, Pizzarella, Giant Eagle,
Party Cake Shop, Antonio's Pizza and the City of Pittsburgh. The shuttle bus
was provided by Pastor Scott Bryte of St. Mark's Church.
The Brookline Park team
Amanda Apitsch, Daniel Apitsch,
Clint Burton, Barbara Buskirk, Josh Buskirk, Kali Casper, Shelby Casper, Bernie
Cusick, Regis Cusick, Jackie Day, Ashlee Dougherty, David Dougherty, Kayleigh
Geiger, Brian Hall, Kelli Hall, Lorraine Hancock, Carmen Johnson, Chase Johnson,
Anita Kalsek, Frank "Skip" Kalsek, Joey Kalsek, Jonathon Kalsek, Aaron Lagnese,
Kathy Lesko, Tommy Lesko, Sean Lesko, Dominic Maggs, Cody Manko, Shane McCarthy,
Daniel McCaskey, Gary Mihelcic, Jonathon Mihelcic, Nancy Mihelcic, Tara Mihelcic,
Kayla Moskiewski, Glen Muller, Monique Muller, Brandon O'Toole, Kevin O'Toole,
Michelle O'Toole, Jimmy Perry, Rodney Powell, Rocky Powell, Corey Roberts,
Robert Underwood, Sandy Valentine, Sherry Valentine, Karly Vates, Jesse Vates,
Scott Vates, Jude Veltri, Mark Williamson, Matt Williamson ...
... and "Rebel" the Anti-Litter dog.
A note to all concerned
It's not that hard to reach down and
pick up a piece of trash. Litter is a problem that will never go away, but with
a little effort we can each do our part to help keep the scourge under control.
Together, we can help keep our community clean, and take pride in the neighborhood
that we call "home." Just think about it.