900 volunteers. 1800 service hours. 19 tons of litter.
Springfield is more beautiful than ever, thanks to the help of nearly 1,000 volunteers and more than 1,600 participating households who took part in the City’s Clean Green Springfield initiative this spring.
Both individuals and groups participated in one or more of numerous cleanup and beautification opportunities, including neighborhood cleanups, roadside trash pickups, plantings, stream cleanups and more.
The effort served as a catalyst for deeper, broader community discussions about community beautification, ownership and pride. Next steps could be new and improved, smarter municipal regulations and practices around trash and the environment; increased numbers of registered neighborhoods; and increased numbers of citizen groups or members of groups dedicated to the beautification cause.
City Manager Jason Gage dedicated $80,000 to the effort, but preliminary cost figures for the spring initiative hover closer to $20,000.
Litter Cleanup Results
More than 11 tons of litter were collected during the City’s four “Point of Pride” cleanup events and various dump site cleanups. Dodging spring rains, a few hundred people turned up to help clean up at West Meadows, Jordan Creek, Wilson’s Creek at Scenic Avenue and Fassnight Creek at Grant Avenue.
An additional 170 groups or individuals registered for one-time roadway or stream cleanups, reinvigorating the City’s regular Adopt-A-Street and Adopt-A-Stream programs and keeping the litter management momentum going. Individuals, families, businesses and service organizations mobilized to help remove more than 1,031 bags of litter from Springfield roadways, trails and streams, totaling approximately 8 tons.
In total, 19 tons of litter was picked up through Clean Green Springfield, helping reduce a noticeable eye-sore in our community, helping to improve water quality and protect the environment.
“The 1,000 bags of litter collected by volunteers represents about 13 bags of litter removed from or kept out of every mile of stream in Springfield,” said Carrie Lamb, City of Springield Water Quality Compliance Officer. “Although the majority of litter items are small, they can harm the habitat and health of fish and other wildlife and contribute contaminants to our waterways. The efforts of Clean Green volunteers have made a significant positive impact for protecting water quality.”
Trash / Difficult Item Disposal
More than 200 tons of trash/bulky items in total were disposed of, or recycled, through Clean Green Springfield special offers, and with the support of additional volunteers.
1601 households disposed of “bulky items” that could have been dumped if they didn’t have any other resources. These items are now no longer cluttering people’s yards, or dumped illegally, removing an eye sore and protecting the environment.
Organizer Erick Roberts, with the City’s Department of Environmental Services, said 197 mattresses were collected over two Mattress Toss event opportunities, serving more than 130 households, weighing an estimated 10 tons.
Public Works engineer Ron Bailey said the City collected 1,560 tires during a Tire Toss event, with over 230 households served, weighing about 23 tons.
Just shy of 400 Springfield residents took advantage of special low-cost or no-cost electronics recycling through a partnership with the Computer Recycling Center. Citizens recycled 250 televisions at no cost to residents. Overall, the Computer Recycling Center collected more than 10,000 pounds of electronics: about 5 tons’ worth.
More than 163 tons of trash were collected during twelve regular spring neighborhood cleanup events facilitated through Community Partnership of the Ozarks. June Neighborhood clean-ups served 871 households. Approximately 75 new volunteers provided through Clean Green assisted neighborhoods with their regular cleanup activities, adding additional hands for unloading of items, help with bulky item pickup and cleaning up litter around the neighborhood.
“We are so very thankful for the Clean Green program and for the amazing work that the Clean Green volunteers have done at our neighborhood clean-ups this Spring,” said Rachel Tripp, neighborhood cleanup coordinator for Community Partnership of the Ozarks. “Our neighborhoods were appreciative of the additional help, as cleanups can be busy and physically exhausting. Having a lot of extra hands made things so much easier for everyone. I also very much enjoyed getting to meet new people and talk with them about the work that neighborhood associations do and about the work that we do at Community Partnership. It was great to see so many new connections made and to hear people talking about wanting to get more involved in their community – and even talk about wanting to come back and help at future cleanups!”
Participation / Service Hours
More than 1,350 individuals registered to help clean up and green up Springfield, with approximately 900 following through with volunteer commitments. It can be estimated that Clean Green volunteers contributed more than 1,800 hours of service.
The Independent Sector calculates a national value of each volunteer hour every year. The estimated hourly value in 2021 is $28.54. Independent Sector is a national membership organization that brings together a diverse community of changemakers at nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs working to strengthen civil society and ensure all people in the United States thrive. Using Independent Sector’s methodology, the value of the Clean Green Springfield volunteer service was $51,372.
Volunteers working alongside Public Works personnel have planted and mulched more than 700 plants in three street medians throughout the city and on Commercial Street during four beautification events. The Hatch Family Foundation underwrote the purchase of all plants. Public Works estimates that, once the plants have taken root and stabilized in their locations, the ongoing effort to maintain these beds should be equal to or less than the effort to maintain grass medians.
Signs from the City sign shop will be posted at each of the three median locations (East Sunset between National and Fremont, College at Scenic, and West Kingsley at Kansas), incorporating the Clean Green Springfield logo and acknowledging the contribution of the Hatch Foundation.