Waste cleanup activity in natural places is fun and satisfying, whether it's done with a group or alone. Trees, shrubs, river, creek, mountain and bird sounds makes the cleanup more enjoyable. But, sometimes a plethora of unchecked wastes in natural places give sadness and demotivation. At those times, one more factor comes into the picture gives much needed motivation and energy to perform the cleanup activity. That is the enthusiasm of the volunteers toward the waste cleanup activity. For every cleanup activity conducted by Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful, we have scores of volunteers come up for every cleanup events, irrespective of rain or shine.
A certain group of volunteers perform team leader role working closely with cleaning up volunteers, guiding them during the entire duration of the activity and ensuring their safety and enthusiasm are intact; they are Alie Victorine, Bruce Victorine, Karan Gathani, Efren Ibaretta, Desiree Knowles, Ankan Dutta, and me - Ram Mohan. We coordinate with Colter Cook, Interpretive Coordinator and Annette McMillan, Volunteer Coordinator, to identify the clean up sites and receiving further instructions. Our Executive Director Deb Kramer and Event Coordinator Rebekah Cotton cordially welcome volunteers during the cleanup event. Volunteers, team leaders and organization members are passionate about keeping natural places free from plastic, glass, metal and any other toxic wastes. Their efforts are noticeable in before and after pictures of the waste spot shown below. Let me share more about what I observed from volunteers work.
Volunteers from different age groups come out for the cleanup activity for their unique reasons. There are kids, students, couples, group of friends, individual and retired people in the volunteer group. Student volunteers do this activity for meeting their course and their club credit requirement. They come with their friends group and participate in cleanup activities enthusiastically. They plan and work as a team to complete a given cleanup task. They exhibit effective team work and camaraderie. I have met some volunteers who come for the cleanup event, even after they complete their course's required service hours. This shows how passionate they are about keeping natural places free from wastes. Admire the social service program in their schools.
There are other volunteers who come with their friends, with their family, with their partner and by themselves for the cleanup activity. They express their interest to work for nature's cause during the weekend time. They find this activity more satisfying and fun. I have seen many volunteers coming for multiple events. Working sincerely through the cleanup hours. I am amazed seeing the team work of family members including kids while doing the cleanup. The kids infuse so much energy and hope through their interest in cleanup activities. They express their curiosity by asking questions about wastes, climate and nature.
In the recent cleanup happened in Olinder Park, San Jose on 01/29/2023, I met a super passionate and hardworking son and dad. We worked close to the creek's water, found heavy wastes like mini refrigerators, couch and non-functional motor bike. First I thought, it would be difficult to remove those wastes, as they were super heavy, and some were found in water. That son and father duo gave me much needed belief and idea to remove those wastes. We worked as a team involving one more volunteer to carry the bike one step at a time and place it away from the water. Through out the whole process, that father was guiding us. I observed how volunteers were good in coming up with ideas and execution process. He also gave an idea to use a rope tied around the refrigerator to move it away from the creek. With their help, we were able to remove two big items. Even after we done with this, that son volunteer didn't seem to stop, he was focused on removing plastic and glass wastes from the water. He employed many smart ideas while doing this activity, hence he was able to remove many wastes from the water. He also told he got many friends who would be interested in doing this heavy activity.
Collective effort while removing the motorbike away from creek
Wastes around natural places are always a saddening sight. Most of the time it is hard to address and stop the waste generating source. It might be discouraging and demotivating. But volunteers give the much needed hope and positivity about keeping the natural places clean. With their help, we would be able to keep natural places free from wastes. I thank KCCB organization for providing us with a platform to work for nature's cause. They are grooming individuals to become a nature lover and a conservationist. The future looks certainly hopeful with the enthusiasm and care from volunteers.