Environmentalism Endures

Environmentalism Endures

Earth Day challenges, opportunities push forward


When environmental educators in Northwest Arkansas realized the 50th anniversary of Earth Day coincided with the fifth anniversary of the official opening of the Razorback Regional Greenway, the opportunity to throw a regionwide celebration was too good to pass up. Unfortunately, just as with nearly all events right now, the organized cleanup that would have brought out volunteers and mayors from every city along the greenway had to be canceled in the interest of safe social distancing practices.

However, even under quarantine measures — and while practicing social distancing — there are plenty of ways to give back to the planet and increase our environmentally conscious efforts.

Litter Pickup

The city of Fayetteville is encouraging Arkansans to still participate in an organized litter cleanup — just at a safe distance and wherever they are comfortable venturing.

“In the parks, we have a lot of great city workers that are out cleaning the more popular ares,” notes Heather Ellzey, an environmental educator with the Fayetteville Recycling & Trash Collection Division. “With this litter pickup, people can go anywhere. When you’re driving down the street in your own neighborhood, you know those areas that a lot of people, especially city employees, that we don’t get a chance to clean up. So I encourage people to look for those areas that don’t get as much love.”

Beginning April 9, Ellzey’s division, Fayetteville Parks and Recreation and the Sustainability Department opened registration for their Earth Day Pledge. Organizers were giving away litter grabbers and T-shirts for those among the first to sign up. While the grabbers and T-shirts are gone, Ellzey says she is happy to provide gloves and trash bags to anyone still interested in participating in the cleanup.

“It’s so exciting to be a part of something … here we are 50 years later and still really trying to look at what it means to be environmentally conscious,” she muses. “And knowing that we’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. Recycling’s a great way to conserve resources; however, it’s really important that we try to reduce and reuse first.”

Earth Day Challenge/Scavenger Hunt

The Boston Mountain Solid Waste District is another body initially signed on to participate in the greenway cleanup. Instead, the organization is now hosting its own Earth Day challenge that will last for two weeks beginning April 22, Earth Day.

“The cool thing about this challenge is all people have to do is record — either take a photo or a video that is one minute or less — documentation of themselves doing something environmentally friendly,” explains Taylor Gladwin, environmental educator with the BMSWD. “That could be picking up litter, that could be recycling, that could be gardening, it could be changing light bulbs to LEDs, it could be creating a rain barrel or a creative re-use project.”

Each activity will be worth a certain amount of points and at the end of the challenge, the winner or winners who have shown the most environmental efforts will be awarded a prize.

“We wanted to come up with something else to bring people’s attention to Earth Day, and to still celebrate environmental conservation and protection as a community, Gladwin shares. “This seemed like a great way to go about it because you can do many different activities, either at home or out and about. And by making it more than just one day, I really wanted to emphasize that Earth Day isn’t just a day, it’s a lifestyle.”


Eager volunteers participate in a previous Earth Day cleanup. The city of Fayetteville, Experience Fayetteville, Boston Mountain Solid Waste District and more regional organizations encourage Arkansans to get creative and be mindful in the ways they give back to the earth this year.
(Courtesy Photo/City of Fayetteville)



Litter Pickup

• Visit fayetteville-ar.gov/EarthDay

Earth Day Challenge/Scavenger Hunt

• To register or for more information, visit bostonmountain.org or search Boston Mountain Solid Waste District on Facebook.

• Gladwin encourages participants to use the hashtag #disposewisely on Facebook or Instagram to document their Earth Day adventures and to also tag three friends, challenging them to do something to celebrate the earth.

Categories: Family Friendly