With the arrival of spring, finally, it’s time for an annual event co-sponsored by the City of Lee’s Summit and the Beautification Commission, strangely called “Sweep the Summit and Stream Team City-wide Event.”
Here’s what that means: Volunteers who care about the environment and the appearance of our beautiful city parks will gather at the Legacy Park Community Center at 9:30 a.m. April 6, dressed in our work clothes and sturdy shoes. Much of the energy comes from the dozens of high school students who earn community service credits for spending about two hours of their Saturday working outside with their friends.
We’ll each be given trash bags and orange vests and a little pep talk before heading out into the park to see what we can find. Some will head for the streams and wooded areas while others stay closer to the buildings and parking lots to pick up the trash that’s accumulated this winter.
We’ll have prizes for the most unique finds and lots of camaraderie when we bring our filled trash bags back to the community center. Last year the bounty included the hood of a car, an old TV and a PC in addition to the usual beer and soda cans and fast food wrappers. It’s hard to believe some folks have so little regard for a park.
At around 11:30 a.m., we’ll enjoy a brief Arbor Day program and plant a tree in honor of the national holiday that focuses on the importance of trees for our environment and enjoyment. Arbor Day originated in Nebraska in 1872. It was J. Sterling Morton of the Morton Salt family who, as Secretary of the Nebraska Territories, first proclaimed a day to focus on the need for trees to tame the windswept prairie. More than a million trees were planted in Nebraska on that first Arbor Day, and now all 50 states proclaim an Arbor Day based on their optimum spring planting dates.
Finally, after picking up trash and planting a tree, participants enjoy free pizza and the feeling that we’ve made the world a little better place.
In order to “sweep” more of Lee’s Summit, we encourage neighborhoods or clubs to join us either at Legacy Park or in your own corner of the city for a cleanup day on April 6. Working together, we’ll make this an even more attractive community in which to live, work and play.
Carol Rothwell is a member of the Lee’s Summit Beautification Commission and a Lee’s Summit resident.