The Brookline Memorial Recreation Center
Earth Day - April 23, 2005
PA Cleanways Project

The Brookline Park team proclaims their
status as the #1 Environmental Cleanup
Crew in the City of Pittsburgh!

"Click on images for larger pictures"

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 pickup.

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.

Kathy, Sandy, Michelle, Josh and Brandon work
the hillside by the Boulevard Enthusiastic workers cleaning
near the park entrance

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 effort.

"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 enthusiasm.

"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 LITTER!"

Finishing up by the Hideaway Mini Mart Gary Mihelcic of 'Garys Trees' helped out
by trimming several trees

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 included:

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.

Rebel the Anti-Litter Dog did his part!

A note to all concerned Brookline residents:

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.

More Photos of the Earth Day Cleanup

Taking a well-deserved water break after a hard day
 sloshing through the mud

Taking the trash back to the drop off zone

Mr. Perry used his truck to help collect the trash and put it in a central
 location ... Thanks James!!!

Jesse, Jonathon, Joey and Karly

Jesse, Jonathon, Joey and Karly

Rebel the Anti-Litter Dog and his dedicated crew of workers

Kali Casper kept her
 crew hopping, and they did a fine job

Three tires and some wood boards were only a small part of the day's
 haul of trash

Sandy, covered in burrs, has a new (old) PAT bus stop sign for her room

Kayleigh and Ashlee strike a cute pose
 ... now back to work girls!

Corey and Carmen were happy to help out!

Jackie and the Twins made an excellent team

Ashlee poses while Sherry, Kathy, Sandy, Brandon, Josh work the hillside

Hungry kids start gathering to wait for the pizza delivery

It's time for some food ... Where's the pizza!!!

The Pizza Man!

Lunch time ... The kids worked up quite an appetite!!!

The Williamsons, Matt and Mark. Good kids, Hard workers.

PA Cleanways ... Let's Pick it up, PA!!! ... Karly was one of the biggest
 little workers we had

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