Story and Photos By: Crysta Hernandez, Communications Intern
From interesting MVP’s to #oddtrash you never know what you will find on a cleanup. On Saturday, June 13th, I headed out on my first Keep Austin Beautiful cleanup. The site: Joe’s Crab Shack on East Riverside, the newest of 21 locations being cleaned as part of Clean Lady Bird Lake initiatives.This was the second time Joe’s Crab Shack had hosted a cleanup. Keep Austin Beautiful initiated the partnership after increased complaints about trash build up underneath the boardwalk. Coupled with recent floods, the site was definitely in need of some attention.
Compost Pedallars, a mobile compost effort for local growers fueled by dedicated bikers, led the site with help from Keep Austin Beautiful Lake Leader, Kendra Bones. Kendra was extremely friendly. She recruited volunteers and welcomed a small group who were ready for the challenge.
After I explored the waterways, I asked the new volunteers about their experience volunteering with Keep Austin Beautiful:
What brought you here today?
Jessica: We’re trying to do some more community service as a family.
How did you find out about this event?
Archie: We we’re looking for volunteer opportunities and Eamon decided he wanted to do something to clean things up, so we did a search on the internet and this is what looked fun.
How was your first clean up with Keep Austin Beautiful?
Eamon, Age 12: It was kind of cool actually, we went to that awesome graffiti part, it was super cool.
What was your favorite find?
Eamon: The pizza!
Eamon found the uneaten pizza beneath East Riverside Drive. Can you believe we found lunch underneath the bridge? I think I’ll pass on that one.
Working with new volunteers at a new site was exciting. I moved on to meet a few more volunteers.
What was your favorite part of the clean up?
Rachel: Being done. Not because it was bad, but because we did something nice. It’s a wake up, we kayak here all the time but we don’t see all of this. It helps to keep our area clean.
Was there anything surprising about the clean up?
Rachel: There was a lot more trash than we realized! Despite all the trash it was still beautiful.
Does working on a team help?
Adrian: Definitely. The competition was nice.
By competition she means that volunteers had a chance to win a months supply of GoodPop popsicles for their #oddtrash finds. Metal springs, backpacks, unopened drinks, and even a brand new bottle of mayonnaise were top contenders at our site.
Working together as new-comers at a new site was more rewarding than I could have anticipated. We met, we mingled, we explored together. Our introduction to Keep Austin Beautiful cleanups will keep us coming back, not just for the sake of Lady Bird Lake but for the fun of cleaning our beautiful city together.
The next Clean Lady Bird Lake is August 8th, registration will open July 8th. Hope to see you there.