My 12-year-old daughter is becoming interested in ecology, and was raring to take some sort of action on this Earth Day! She has been reading about Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program and wants to find some local thing similar to it that she can get involved with. Not willing to wait for someone to hand her an opportunity, she got my 5-year-old and me to help her pick up a garbage bag full of trash from our park, and pack it out by bike.
This is an undeveloped city park. There is a lot of littered trash and broken glass. The field is pretty much unappreciated. Kids do play here some, especially during the snow, but not nearly as much as our developed parks. There is some unsavory activity at times.
My daughter was telling me all about how people in our neighborhood would take better care of the park if it was a nicer place to be. She wishes that there was at least a portion where the ground was level and the grass kept short so that the neighborhood kids could play there instead of in the street. If parents felt the park was made safe they would take their kids there, and the trouble makers would likely move on. I like her philosophy. Listening to her was one of those times when you hear wisdom being spoken and can’t believe it’s coming out of such a young person.
As bike commuters and walkers, we use the trail passing through the park often. We do nature walks through the area, and I feel better about letting my kids walk around there now. Plus, volunteering adds to the pride we have in our neighborhood and our community. We’re already discussing the need to go back and do a clean-up again.