Despite the many rainstorms during Clean Up Akron Month in April, more than 3,000 volunteers removed more than 38,000 pounds of litter (19.27 tons) from Akron’s neighborhoods, according to Keep Akron Beautiful, who added that volunteers cleaned up 112 sites and 1,370 students cleaned their campuses. Also collected were 287 pounds of recyclables and 91 tires.
A diverse group of volunteers banded together to dedicate nearly 13,000 hours cleaning up parks, vacant lots, school campuses and the streets of their own neighborhoods. Groups like Circles Summit County supported community events like the Big Love Festival, doing a litter sweep in the surrounding neighborhood and then attending the event as a group.
Businesses like Hasenstab Architects have turned Clean Up Akron Month into a tradition, returning to Patterson Park for the second year, while employees from Hitchcock Fleming and Associates teamed up with Neighborhood Network to take time out of their workday to volunteer in the Middlebury neighborhood. Some students, like those from Crouse CLC, cleaned up their school campus, while others, like the students from St. Sebastian, ventured beyond their school campus to clean up city parks like Forest Lodge Park.
Thanks to the addition of new equipment, made possible through grant funding from the Ohio EPA, Clean Up Akron Month volunteers were able to make an even bigger impact during their cleanups that took place by area waterways. Supplies included waders, surface skimming rakes, life vests and rakes with telescope reach. During a large-scale cleanup that took place on April 22, over 239 volunteers went to Summit Lake to help collect over 5.5 tons of litter and 18 tires in just three hours. 4H Summit Shooting Sports Club, who cleans up Nesmith Lake each year, also was able to increase their efficiency thanks to the new equipment.
Clean Up Akron Month volunteers celebrated a month of hard work by going to the Akron Zoo for a free Super Saturday volunteer appreciation picnic and awards ceremony. The Metro Park Leaf, Zippy from The University of Akron and Eco The Blue Heron Mascot entertained the crowd, while Keep Akron Beautiful Board Chair Captain Daniel Zampelli, and Keep Akron Beautiful Communications and Volunteer Project Manager Helen Dauka, offered warm words of encouragement and congratulations to the assembled volunteers.
Mayor Dan Horrigan also participated in the ceremony, presenting a proclamation to Keep Akron Beautiful, honoring April 2017 as Clean Up Akron Month. Sponsors included: Acme Fresh Markets, Akron Zoological Park, City of Akron, D-A Specialty Co. Inc., Eat’N Park, GOJO Industries, Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, Inc., House of LaRose, Keep Akron Beautiful Board of Directors, Schwebel’s Bakery, Sully’s Party Rental, Pepsi-Cola, The Volunteer Center of Summit County, Waste Management of Ohio, and the Ohio EPA.
A number of national sponsors also donated the supplies to make this litter cleanup possible: Dow, The Glad Products Company, Lowe’s, Niagara Bottling and ReadyRefresh by Nestlé, and Dickinson’s Skin Care Products. Clean Up Akron Month is Keep Akron Beautiful’s largest public awareness event. For info, visit www.keepakronbeautiful.org.