Spring makes me giddy. I’m pining for evening picnics at the local park with the hubby, followed by trail adventures with our dogs.
The snow is long gone, and soon daffodils and tulips will be peeking through the soil. While outside enjoying the warmer weather just the other day, I noticed a call for a park cleanup volunteer group at the state park just a few miles from my home. They’re getting park lovers together to do annual maintenance and cleaning, so the entire community can enjoy the green space this spring.
Do you live near a community (or state or city) park? It’s worth making a few phone calls to see if there are any community cleanup programs in your area where you can make a difference. The best part about this is it’s something you can do with your entire family, regardless of age.
Pack up the kids, get some fresh air, and share an afternoon beautifying a place you love to visit during warm weather. As a bonus, your children will learn the value of giving back (while burning off extra energy outdoors) all while you increase the safety and life-span of your favorite outdoor spots. If you can’t find an organized park cleanup volunteer program, suggest one to park officials. Here’s a list of tasks that can easily be tackled by a team of volunteers (aka your family) with a little supervision:
Revive the Nature Trails
Clearing fallen branches and dead trees off nature trails and walking paths are common early spring tasks for park maintenance crews. Oftentimes, they ask for volunteers to help haul the wood out of the forest areas and turn it into mulch. This is then layered on the walkways to keep muddy paths to a minimum. Spreading the homemade wood chips is simple enough for kids to tackle with their parents (and the help of a few rakes, buckets, and pairs of gloves).
Clean Landscaped Features
As the seasons change, it’s time to give landscaped areas some extra attention. Typical volunteer chores include trimming back autumn overgrowth from bushes and flowers to make room for spring flowers. Or, you can add a fresh layer of rock or mulch to flower beds. If there’s a stone or brick patio area, it can be power washed to remove mildew and freshen the public space.
Repair and Refresh Play Equipment
If you’re handy with basic tools, offer to repair and update the play area equipment. Your family can work as a team to identify potential hazards, such as loose screws protruding out of a climbing wall or a torn swing seat (which is a great chance to discuss basic playground safety with your kids). Once everything is in good shape, let the painting and wood staining begin. This protects the equipment from the wear and tear of yet another season.
Pick up Garbage and Leaves
Finally, give the park a thorough tidying. Winter winds may have blown garbage into the slats of a fence or corner of a picnic shelter. Move the plastic water bottles, aluminum drink cans, and paper to a recycle bin. Your little ones can bring leaves to a compost pile. This activity is a great way to teach children about cleaning up and keeping waste out of the landfill.
Take an active role in your community, and consider being a park cleanup volunteer. We’d love to see pictures of you and your family outside enjoying spring for a good cause, so tweet them to @TomsofMaine!
Image source: Angela Tague
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.