Giving back to Mother Nature

The first Mill Creek MetroPark Earth Day Cleanup was held April 30, 1983, with 90 participants cleaning up the hillside on Robinson Hill Drive near Slippery Rock Pavilion. Five dump truck loads of tires, metal, sinks, buckets and other various debris and trash were cleaned from the hillside that morning by Boy Scouts and other community members. Photo courtesy of Mike Kupec

By Jessica Stamp

Among the blooming daffodils, planted trees and shrubs, an annual local cleanup will take place from 9 a.m. until noon April 23 at Mill Creek MetroParks to celebrate Earth Day. 

Mike Kupec, Mill Creek MetroParks Earth Day cleanup chairman for the Boy Scouts, has been in charge of the event for about 40 years. Kupec and approximately 400 volunteers will pick up any litter and debris in the 41 different sites across the park.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cleanup has not been able to gather as many recyclables and trash from the MetroParks for the past two years. 

“We haven’t had too many people to be able to get out to clean up so the park is trying to do extra cleanups,” Kupec said.

Volunteers will register and be assigned to different areas of the park for clean-up between 8-9 a.m. at Bresko Pavilion in the Wick Recreation area. Volunteers will be provided trash bags, recycling bags and any other necessary supplies.

Kupec said past cleanups filled hundreds of trash and recyclable bags. 

“We not only get trash [and] recyclables — we pick up a lot of other items,” Kupec said. 

Kupec said he was surprised by the things people leave and where they leave them.

“Metal and other items [like] tires … there was a kitchen sink one time,” Kupec said. “It’s unbelievable to us.”

Some participants are cleaning up the park before April 23 because they are not able to make it on the actual day of the event.

The event will take place rain or shine and will only be canceled for extreme weather conditions. 

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