By Craig Kaderavek
LEBANON, Va. (April 24, 2018) -- Members of Lebanon Memorial United Methodist Church, in celebration of Earth Day, spent a cool but beautiful Saturday morning cleaning up the picnic area, creek bank, and walking trail at J. S. Easterly Park in Lebanon.
The park is a popular place for picnics, reunions, tennis, walking, exercising and enjoying the ducks in Little Cedar Creek. Unfortunately, years of periodic high-water events along Little Cedar Creek, and careless people deposited an unsightly amount of trash among the rocks and vegetation along the creek and walking trail.
In just three hours, the group collected a pickup-truck load of trash, plus several old tires, remnants of a former town landfill. As one might expect, plastic bottles and aluminum cans were the most abundant items found. Styrofoam cups, cigarette butts, packaging material and insulation were also common finds during the cleanup.
Litter is a local problem that can have global environmental impact. Plastic and styrofoam take a long time to break down in the natural environment and, in the meantime, cause harm to animal’s habitats and their food supply. A single discarded plastic bottle or plastic shopping bag can blow from a parking lot into a ditch then into a stream, such as Little Cedar Creek, and eventually find its way to the Clinch River, then the Mississippi River to then join millions of other bottles in one of the giant floating trash-rafts in our oceans.
Several surprising items were also collected by the team. If you are missing a white, left-foot, running shoe with red stripes, size 10, we may have found it. Or if you've lost a black, right-foot, flip-flop sandal, size 8, you’re in luck! The group also found an old sign, pieces of vinyl house siding, a tarp, hoses, buckets, glass bottles, tennis balls and other indescribable items.
Inevitably some trash remained despite the best efforts of the team. The cold, high water made it difficult to wade into deeper areas of the creek to pull out some objects. Lebanon Memorial UMC is considering a second annual event next year. In the meantime, the Creation Care service project team offers a reminder to be careful with your stuff, and dispose of it properly in suitable trash containers or, better yet, recycle.
Let’s work together to keep God’s Creation beautiful and clean!
Craig Kaderavek is missions chair at Lebanon Memorial UMC, located in the Clinch Mountain District.
What does the UMC say about caring for creation? (UMC.org)
Green roof reflects United Methodist care for earth (UMC, 4/12/18)