Did you know that 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day? Amidst all of the changes, we are thinking of ways we can celebrate during the entire month of April, and hope you are too.
If you are looking for an impactful activity for you and those in your household to get involved in, we suggest a DIY cleanup and scavenger hunt in your neighborhood. The supplies are minimal, it’s a great way to get some physical activity nearby, and you can leave a spot in your community better than you found it.
I’ve rounded up some tips and instructions for a DIY neighborhood cleanup, a neighborhood scavenger hunt, and more ways to get involved below. Happy Earth Month 2020!
Before Starting Your Cleanup:
1. Gather Materials
- Cleanup supplies: work gloves to protect your hands and an old bucket or bag to collect trash are the perfect tools for a successful cleanup. Please do not pick up trash if you are not wearing gloves.
- Protection from the elements: Sun protective gear, such as a hat and sunglasses, and breathable clothing is highly recommended.
- Activity essentials: Pack a few essentials like a first aid kit, a filled reusable water bottle, and some of your favorite snacks to stay safe and hydrated.
- Trash tracking tools: Download the Marine Debris Tracker App on your mobile device or print out our Cleanup Data Card and take a pencil to track your finds.
2. Safety First
- Watch our Cleanup Safety Video or read our Cleanup Safety Talk aloud to your cleanup crew. Have a brief discussion at the end to ensure that everyone understands the safety tips, and what not to pick up. DO NOT pick up medical waste, hazardous waste, gloves, masks, syringes, needles, sharp objects, condoms, tampons, waste materials, etc.
- Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly once you’ve returned home.
- Limit your cleanup group participants to only the people in your household to accommodate physical distancing and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you see other people while you are outside, make sure to stay at least 6 feet away. If you or someone in your household feels sick, please stay home.
3. Pick Your Site (please check for park, beach, and trail closures)
- Adhere to county guidelines and respect closures and find a cleanup site that is accessible for you and everyone in your household and within walking distance from where you live.
- Some of the best cleanup locations could be your neighborhood block, park, creek, or trail with a waste receptacle or trash can nearby.
- When you find a site, make sure you take a photo before your cleanup effort.
- Remember that all storm drains lead to out the ocean, and leading a neighborhood cleanup helps prevent ocean-bound trash from ever making its way down the storm drain. That makes you and your loved ones ocean protectors!
After Your Neighborhood Cleanup:
- Take photos of your family members getting the job done.
- Snap some final photos of what your site looks like after the cleanup.
- Dump your collected trash at the nearest waste receptacle or trash can, and celebrate your work!
- Share your photos and finds by tagging us @healthebay and using the hashtag #healthebay.
- Give each other kudos for being a part of an amazing cleanup effort.
Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
While this is a fun activity for all ages, we know that the little ones will especially love it. The possibilities for neighborhood scavenger hunts are endless, but here are a few of my favorite ideas for your next neighborhood walk or cleanup together:
Things To Spot
- Art or a mural
- Stop sign
- Something blue like the ocean or the sky
- Out of state license plate
- Tiny bug
- Storm drain
Things To Clean Up
- Snack bags or candy wrappers
- Cups or lids
- Plastic utensils
- Cigarette butts
- Glass bottles
- Aluminum cans
- Soda cans
- Plastic bags
- Plastic pieces
Things to avoid: sharp objects, heavy objects. If you find something that needs to be picked up by city officials. Call 311 to report bulk items.