Every spring, dedicated citizens join hands to clean up one of Lee’s Summit parks on the Saturday nearest Earth Day. The event, known as “Sweep the Summit and Stream Team,” will be held at 9:30 a.m. March 26 with a few new twists.
The old mascot, “Sammy the Sweeper,” has been retired and in his place we will unveil the Trash Trophy to the high school group collecting the most trash per volunteer. Students have always been energetic participants in Sweep the Summit, and this year the three high schools will be in competition for the trophy. Of course, we also need volunteers of all ages to make the morning complete, and you are encouraged to select one of the parks for your efforts.
Here’s how it will work. Three parks will be cleaned this year and you’re invited to choose your favorite, but the high schools will be assigned as follows: Lee’s Summit High School-Howard Park; Lee’s Summit West-Lowenstein Park; Lee’s Summit North-Summit Park.
Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes and work gloves; plastic gloves and trash bags will be provided. Be prepared for almost anything. With all the windy days we’ve had, litter seems to be everywhere this spring. Past volunteers have found everything from computers, toilets and car hoods dumped in our parks. Mostly, we find plastic bags and fast food wrappers that mar the beauty of the parks. It’s a great feeling to help clean it up, and participants are forever more conscious of what happens to the waste we produce.
At 11:30 a.m., all three groups will join up at Lowenstein Park for a tree planting in honor of Arbor Day, and then enjoy pizza while the judges award prizes for the most unique items and decide which park yielded the most junk per student, earning one high school the prestigious trash trophy.
We are grateful for the assistance of environmental science teachers Chris Gerding, Laura Tewes and Lisa Boulden for their enthusiastic participation and for offering extra credit and community volunteer hours to their participating students.
See you in the parks!
Carol Rothwell is a member of the Beautification Commission and a Lees Summit resident.