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City of Fayetteville hosts Earth Day clean-up, native tree giveaway

Next Monday is Earth Day, and this Saturday, April 20,  the city of Fayetteville is planning a city-wide clean-up and native tree giveaway. Kristina Jones is the city’s Volunteer and Ecological Programs coordinator, and Brian Pugh is the Waste Reduction Coordinator. They spoke with Ozarks at Large's Jack Travis about the event.

The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.

Kristina Jones: We pivoted a little bit that year. So we've managed to do something every year since then. And what we've been doing is sending out volunteers across the city of Fayetteville in our public spaces to clean up litter. And we'll be meeting at the Marion Norton recycling center at 9 a.m. The mayor is going to be kicking the event off with an Earth Day proclamation. We'll be handing out some environmental stewardship awards that were awarded this spring. And then we'll be sending people out to clean up litter in parks, along trails and streets, and in our creeks.

Jack Travis: Are there any specific parks that you are looking to tackle, or areas that deserve a little bit of TLC?

Kristina Jones: I'd say if it's a spot in our outdoors and in public space, it always needs some TLC, and we want to give every place love equally. Really, it's the city is growing so much, and it's really hard for us to know where all of that trash is. So one of the great things about this cleanup is, if you have a spot that's been niggling at you because you've been driving by it for the last, you know, month and you're seeing trash there, you will what we can do is give you cleanup supplies, even go out to that location cleaning up, bring your trash and recycling back to Mary Norton recycling center, and then we'll help you sort the trash and recycling. We're going to have trees that we're giving out, and we've also ordered about 150 T-shirts, so we'll have a limited supply of T-shirts for everybody.

Brian Pugh: I think one of the things that happens each year, as we come out of the winter months, when people are not outside and are not picking up, is that trash accumulates. It's easily more visible because there's no vegetation to hide it. So it accumulates a lot, and doing this in the spring. Of course, you know we always want people to pick up their trash. All the time. But doing this in the spring when the weather gets nicer. It's a great opportunity to learn about what's going on in our community, especially how it relates to the environmental programs available offers. Christina mentioned this is going to be at the Marion Orton recycling drop. off, which is at 735 West North Street. And that drop-off is available as one of two drop-offs in the city, but it's available 24/7. So recycling is available to everybody in Fayetteville whether you have the curbside service or not, but learning what is recyclable. And what is not recyclable is what the city takes. This is just another opportunity to get the public to be at our facility and give us an opportunity to visit with them and do some education to help further our environmental programs across Fayetteville.

Jack Travis: You said this has been ongoing since 2015. Is there anything different about this year's festivities? Maybe from the years past?

Kristina Jones: Well, as we've hosted this throughout the years, we've been able to scale up the cleanup a little bit. So, whereas we started before, primarily in parks and trails, we've now expanded the cleanup because we see the need for regardless of if trash is no matter where it is, it's going to end up in our streams. And so we want to make sure that we capture it wherever we see it. And so we realize the importance of being able to capture that not only in the parks and trails but in the right-of-way areas as well. So, so we've expanded it in that way. We are able to provide snacks and things at the beginning. We haven't always done that. So, as volunteers get there, we encourage them to try to be there a little early so that they can have a bagel, grab some coffee, and mingle and pick up their supplies before the mayor kicks things off at nine.

Jack Travis: Are either of y'all going to be in attendance?

Kristina Jones: Yes, we will both be there. This is something Kristina and I have done for years. And we've worked together on a lot and we've seen it grow. Over the years. We probably used to be able to do these cleanups in a few hours. It's expanded out now to where that takes about four or five hours or more to do so. That's a good thing we thank in the community. It gives us an opportunity to be there to visit with our residents and those that are interested in helping us with our programs. And so it's you know, the old saying every day is Earth Day. That's true, but this does give us an opportunity to highlight one time of year where we can just spotlight our programs and ask for that involvement across the community.

Jack Travis: How will you be spotlighting those programs during this event?

Brian Pugh: Basically just talking to people and educating them on our services. in Fayetteville. We have a very robust recycling program that we are very specific on targeting certain materials. That is not always easily conveyed to people who are new to Fayetteville and have come from different communities that might have had a recycling program that was different than ours. And we educate them on why we only take certain types of materials. Mainly the plastics. I know plastics have a lot of- there's a lot of stories out about plastic recycling and a lot of negative stories about that. But the one positive thing about recycling plastic is with the plastic bottles. That number one and number two bottles, those markets are very strong. And so that's what we focus our program on, and so the other plastics, there are other opportunities in Fayetteville that Walmart has taken on with the Sam's Club that gives us an opportunity to educate the public about the thermoformed which are the berry containers and salad containers and other plastics that are marked number one that collection is happening at the Sam's Club at their store. So, it just gives us an opportunity to point out the nuances of recycling and educate them as to why we only take certain materials and why we do not take other materials.

Ozarks at Large transcripts are created on a rush deadline by reporters. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of KUAF programming is the audio record.

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Jack Travis is a reporter for <i>Ozarks at Large</i>.<br/>
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