Today, Saturday September 17th is National Cleanup Day! It’s a celebration where organizations and individuals coast to coast volunteer to clean up our parks, trails, beaches, rivers, mountains and all natural spaces. Though the origin ators of the holiday explicitly encourage people to celebrate by picking up litter all the time, not just on a designated day in September.
The holiday was started as an event by a nonprofit run by Steve Jewett and Bill Wolloughny, avid hikers and climbers. The two gradually became aware of trash on their favorite hiking trails and began to pick up litter on their hikes together, at first just picking up what they could fit in their pockets and later carrying a bag with them. They started Clean Trails, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to cleaning outdoor spaces with the question in mind “what if every individual picked up one piece of litter?”
This year National Cleanup Day is also being held in conjunction with World Cleanup Day, a broader multinational effort to clean up natural spaces around the globe. Their website claims to unite more than 20 million volunteers in 180 countries! The international version of the holiday is driven by the concepts of cooperation, collaboration and the idea that people are statistically more likely to clean up spaces if they see others doing it.
The B Team Buffalo is a registered nonprofit organization led by young professionals dedicated to promoting a lasting sense of civic pride in the Greater Buffalo area. Our organization has several signature community-focused projects that we’ve developed over the years, including City of Light and Pints & Pads. The B Team also assists other organizations with the development, staffing, promotion, and execution of volunteer-driven, Buffalo-focused events.
One local organization that we highly recommend volunteering with this Cleanup Day, or any other time, is Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper (BNW). The Waterkeepers are a Western New York regional non-profit organization whose jurisdiction includes the entire Niagara River watershed. Their mission is to protect and restore our local water source and the health of our surrounding ecosystems and community.
Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper trains and educates the community in environmental science, environmental justice, and Stewardship. They also work on connecting people to their local water by coordinating regular clean up programs open for public registration. Register for their Scajaquada Sweep this Saturday or next here: https://bnwaterkeeper.salsalabs.org/2021scajaquadasweep/index.html