TAKOMA PARK – Dozens of volunteers cleaned up litter at 14 sites along and near Sligo Creek during a “Sweep the Creek” event hosted by Friends of Sligo Creek last weekend.
It rained nearly the entire two-hour period Saturday morning.
Resident Barbara Underwood said this was her family’s first time participating in the two-day event.
She started picking up litter once a month at her daughter’s elementary school when she volunteered there during lunch and recess.
She said several times the children during recess “just run and want to help” pick up litter too.
They chose to pick up litter by the guardrail on Sligo Creek Parkway near Hayward Court because it seemed to have more litter than spots closest to the creek.
Underwood pointed out most of the litter she, her husband Michael Bateman and their daughter Abigail found that morning was processed food containers.
Takoma Park Middle School parent Jenny Wagner said she and her husband have participated in Sweep the Creek each of the last 16 years, dating back to before their children were born.
Now their 14-year-old daughter Ceilidie and 11-year-old son Jack also pick up trash.
As Ceilidie and Jack pushed a swivel chair along the paved path to the entrance of the Sweep the Creek site Saturday, they said the chair was the largest piece of litter they found that day.
Wagner pointed out the path was added after she and her husband first started participating in Sweep the Creek.
Several students from Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School met at their school campus and walked to the creek to earn student service learning hours.
Students said two weeks remain until the deadline to submit documentation of completing community service.
Amanda Gaal, a biology teacher at Don Bosco, led the group.
She said this was the first year the students from the school participated in Sweep the Creek. She found the event by searching online for “Earth Day activities.”
Gaal said the school provides a list of opportunities for students to complete community service.
However, this was the first time the school brought students into the community to pick up trash, rather than remain on campus.
Most of the students at Don Bosco live in Prince George’s County but some live in Washington, D.C.
Freshman Malaysha Sabolen, 14, said littering is one of her pet peeves.
She chose Sweep the Creek as part of her community service because earning hours close to her school was convenient for her.
“I kind of find it enjoyable in a way,” said Sabolen, later adding, “It’s like a satisfying feeling that you actually cleaned up the area.”
Freshman Raylin Nunez said she had five more hours to complete to meet her requirement not including picking up litter Saturday.
Another student said the group found an air mattress in the creek.
Ronald Majano, sophomore, found a machete in a pile of leaves in the woods near the creek.
“We thought it was a cooking knife (at first),” said Majano.