Earth Day cleanup volunteers gathered trash at Zimmerman Butte west of Sisters on April 20. photo provided
Earth Day cleanup volunteers gathered trash at Zimmerman Butte west of Sisters on April 20. photo provided
Fort-five adults and 10 children collected over a ton of trash during the Earth Day Community Cleanup last Saturday organized by Mandee Seeley of Sisters Park & Recreation District.

With supplies donated by SOLV and three dumpsters provided by the Sisters Ranger District, 136 bags of trash are no longer littering Sisters and the surrounding forest.

Zimmerman Cinder Pit yielded the largest collection of trash, including a discarded electric dishwasher, picked up by Mandee’s husband Ryan and their two children. The residents of the Clear Pine subdivision collected trash from the 20 acres surrounding their neighborhood and brought in the second largest amount of litter. The Bunkhouse proprietors, Kathleen and Michael, took turns over the morning staffing the hotel and picking up litter in the vicinity.

Ten people from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came out to lend support to the effort. Employees of the Ponderosa Best Western also participated in the cleanup effort. On the Friday before, the elementary and middle schools had students pick up litter on the school grounds and parking lots. Seeley approached the high school but didn’t receive a response.

“I’m hopeful that we will be able to engage the high school in our next effort in September,” Seeley commented.

Organized and promoted single-handedly by Seeley, the community cleanup day was started last September and will be held every spring and fall, before and after Sisters’ tourist season. Anyone can participate and all necessary supplies are provided free of charge by SOLV — trash bags, vests, gloves, and sharps containers. The City had also provided trash bags but they weren’t needed.

Three USFS rangers, including one who had only been on the job for three days, marked trees in the forest to indicate cleanup sites. As the trash bags were dropped off at FS headquarters, the rangers sorted the trash to identify and separate out recyclable materials. Several abandoned camps in the forest were identified and reported to the rangers.

Seeley reported that, besides the dishwasher, the weirdest items collected included a raven’s head, the skull of a squirrel, and $3.50 in cash, which was brought back to SPRD and turned in.

Seeley would like everyone to mark their calendars for the next cleanup day, scheduled for September 28. If 55 people can pick up over a ton of garbage in three hours, Seeley said, imagine what could be accomplished by 100 or 200 or the entire community pitching in.

She is looking for help with the future cleanup days, including organizing and promoting beforehand, and assistance at SPRD the day of the event so she can get out and participate in the cleanup.

For information on the cleanup project, contact Seeley at SPRD 541-549-2091.