Volunteers Participate in Great Arkansas Cleanup
by Keith Turner
Delta Digital News Service
JACKSONPORT — All across Arkansas, volunteers are cleaning trash from state parks, roads and other public areas as part of the Great Arkansas Cleanup.
Kaleb Young, a member of Trail Life USA Batesville, spent his Saturday off from school mulching trees in his local state park.
“It’s good to serve the community and get to have some physical activity in there … learn about the outdoors and camp, stuff like that,” Young said.
Young’s activities in the park were part of the Great Arkansas Cleanup, a statewide volunteer event dedicated to removing litter and cleaning up the state’s roadways, parks and public areas sponsored by the Keep Arkansas Beautiful commission.
At Jacksonport State Park, nearly 20 volunteers assisted park staff in various clean-up projects, from mulching to trash cleanup. Mark Ballard, superintendent at the park, has worked at the park since 1990. Ballard said he estimates the park has participated in the cleanup for 25 years.
“The service work that we get out of it … they clean the community up. We all want to live in a clean community,” Ballard said.
According to the Keep Arkansas Beautiful website, over 7,000 volunteers worked across the state in the 2016 Great Arkansas Cleanup. In 2016, volunteers collected 210,582 pounds of litter. The economic value to the state was over $1.6 million.
“We get some work done that our maintenance staff doesn’t have to do,” Ballard said.
Volunteers in the cleanup receive a T-shirt, and Ballard and his staff prepared lunch for the volunteers.
Multiple groups volunteered at Jacksonport, including Trail Life, a Christian scouting program for boys in grades K-12. Chris Middleton is the Troopmaster for the Batesville group. Middleton said he brings the group out to help the park and for additional bonuses.
“They feed us hot dogs. Anytime someone feeds us, we come out,” Middleton said.
Cleanup days will continue throughout the state until Oct. 31. To find a cleanup at a park near you, visit http://keeparkansasbeautiful.com/full-event-calendar/.