Beginning this weekend, Arkansans will have the opportunity to beautify their state during the annual Great Arkansas Cleanup, which will last until the end of October. Volunteers will be mobilizing with the help of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, part of the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department. Liz Philpott is the lead coordinator of volunteers for the commission. She says helpers like to pick specific recreation areas to clean up.
“A lot of people like to focus on parks or their neighborhoods or some people will do schools and lot of people will do waterways which is a huge thing and very close to my heart,” she says. “Because whenever it rains, rain will carry litter very quickly and it will carry it to the closest waterway. And all these waterways are connected.”
Philpott says the coordinators of this year’s 2 month-long cleanup will be remembering Carl Garner who led the first cleanup at Greers Ferry Lake and the Little Red River 45 years ago and who died this July at the age of 99.
“Up until his death he was just working really hard. He was a huge advocate for a clean and litter-free environment. Since he passed away this July he just want to dedicate this year’s Great Arkansas Cleanup to him. That’s why we’re kind of hoping to have more people involved than ever just because we know Carl would be proud of us,” she says.
Garner’s efforts eventually led to Congress passing a Federal Lands Cleanup Act, which established a national cleanup day the weekend after Labor Day. Philpott says volunteers will be provided equipment as they pick up litter around parks, schools and waterways.
You can find out more about the Great Arkansas Cleanup here.