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Record Number of Volunteers for Annual Earth Day Trash Bash

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Des Moines Parks and Rec’s Marketing Supervisor Jen Fletcher said there are a record number of volunteers for the annual Earth Day Trash Bash on Friday.

Seventeen-hundred volunteers will gather at Cowles Commons at noon for lunch and music before heading out to 68 different locations to clean up the city.

“They will be helping clean up parks, trails, cemeteries, you name it, anywhere the city needs cleaning up,” Fletcher said.

The department is responsible for the management of 76 parks, over 4,000 acres of parkland, 81 miles of trails, seven cemeteries and numerous municipal facilities.

One of the groups helping clean up is Polk County Conservation.

“Trash bash is important because it gives the community a chance to be engaged and we really can’t provide the level of service and quality experience to our park users without volunteers. So we have corporate groups, individuals, youth groups, cub scouts and all sorts of people that come out and help in our parks,” Pat Spain with Polk County Conservation said.

The Polk County Conservation group of volunteers will be helping out around Easter Lake picking up trash and invasive brush species like honeysuckle.

“But also then we will have volunteers working in the drained lake bed picking up tires and trash and litter that we can’t get to when the lake is full of water,” Spain said.

If you weren’t able to sign up for trash bash, there are still several ways you can get out in the community for Earth Day on Saturday.

  • Ankeny has its 11th annual Earth Day stream/watershed cleanup around the lakes of Prairie Trail and Saylor Creek Saturday from 8 – 11 a.m. Volunteers will meet at the parking lot in The District, adjacent to the District 36 restaurant at 1345 SW Vintage Parkway. The City will provide trash bags and vinyl gloves.
  • The Science Center of Iowa and Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden are hosting an Earth Day scavenger hunt on Saturday from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. You can use the trails and the Principal Riverwalk to walk or bike between the two locations to participate. Both have free admission and Earth Day activities.