EXETER – Multiple community groups took to borough streets in celebration of Earth Day on Sunday, creating the inaugural Exeter Earth Day Cleanup weekend.
Meeting outside of the Wyoming Area gymnasium, members of both Exeter Proud and the Wyoming Area Kiwanis joined with students, community members and more to further the work of Exeter Cub Scout Troop 310, which began the weekend by cleaning up Schooley Avenue on Saturday.
Exeter Proud Vice President Sarah Mangan said the group of roughly 20 volunteers split up and tackled three sections of the borough, including parts of Wyoming, Slocum and Packer avenues.
“Exeter Proud is relatively new to getting their hands dirty within the community, so the Kiwanis made the very generous offer to make it a joint effort,” Mangan said. “We thought Earth Day weekend was a perfect time to get out and make a collaborative effort and instill some community pride.”
A nonprofit formed within the past year, Exeter Proud’s focus is to re-envision and revitalize the borough, starting with the downtown area before spreading across the community entirely.
Mangan said she hopes that, after littler is cleared from the roads, the groups will be able to maintain the area so that it will be in pristine shape for the upcoming Memorial Day Parade.
“I can’t think of a better way to honor our fallen than to just give them a clean route to walk on,” Mangan said.
Once the groups split up and chose their desired areas, it was off to cleaning. Supplied with orange safety vests, gloves, trash bags and water, Kiwanis members Mike Coolbaugh and Tiffany Callaio headed their group to Packer Avenue.
Following the twisting road around the Fox Hill County Club, the group pulled over along some railroad tracks and got ready to work. With Coolbaugh and Callaio were four members of the Wyoming Area Builders Club, including 14-year-old Karino Soto, 13-year-old Julia Furcon, 12-year-old Danielle Pollard and 12-year-old Janessa Havos.
As Coolbaugh read the rules and warned the students not to touch anything hazardous, the girls explained why they wanted to help the Earth.
“It’s good for the community,” Furcon said, with others chiming in by adding they enjoy nature or don’t want to live in an area covered with trash.
With trash bags in hand, the group split up to cover both sides of the trash-ridden roadway. As everything from empty pizza boxes, beer bottles and more began disappearing from the landscape, Coolbaugh lifted up an old curtain rod with blinds still attached. Looking at the rod and the rest of the litter-filled street, he wanted to share a message to residents.
“If you see people dumping or throwing things out of the car window, write down their license plate and call (the police),” he said.
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