Shantel Anderson had more time to go for walks after she was laid off from her job at Family Health Network’s Cortland branch April 1.
On these walks around Cortland, she noticed how much trash was lying around the city and wanted to do something about it. She took to Facebook with her friend Courtney Rivers, and created Clean up Cortland County, a page dedicated to people sharing pictures of themselves picking up trash in advance of Earth Day on Wednesday.
“We figured there’s a lot of people laid off and don’t have a lot to do,” Anderson said. “We thought it could be something people could get involved in.”
When the page was created, the only members of the group were friends of Anderson and Rivers. It has since grown to more than 1,200 members from all over the county.
“It’s been so great,” Anderson said. “Everyone is just getting out and posting pictures.”
Rose Bush of Homer was recently invited to join the page and did her first clean last week up on McDonald Road in Homer. She and two of her children, Brayden and Lillyanna Scovell — 9 and 8 years old, respectively — filled three garbage bags of trash with items like cans and plastic water bottle rings.
“They really had fun doing it,” Bush said. “I feel like they felt like they were helping Mother Nature, too.”
Bush, who has been working for Suit-Kote Corp. from home, says that when the weather is nice, she plans to go out more with Bradyen and Lillyanna to pick up trash.
The next spot?
Maybe Locust Avenue, where she has seen lots of trash.
“I just hope more and more people just want to do a good deed and clean up the place, too,” she said.
Anderson said that because of the coronavirus pandemic, no events requiring people to gather in the same area have been planned, yet For Earth Day — Wednesday — she said she might create an event for people to clean up simultaneously but in separate areas.
No matter how much people contribute, if they are cleaning up their neighborhoods, she said, that is good enough.
“If you walk up your street and pick up a few cups, that helps,” she said.