On September 15th a park clean up was organized by the  Youth and Students for Peace (YSP) group of the Korean Evangelical Association (KEA) in New Jersey. A team of nine youth and young adults gathered at their local church building for a brief overview of YSP and the Environmental Messiah Project, which is their YSP project initiative to take care of the environment started in April of 2019. Afterwards they headed over to Overpeck County Park in Leonia, NJ for the cleanup. 

The group spent the afternoon walking around the large park, picking up trash and litter with the goal to beautify the area and take care of the local nature. They discovered that a majority of the trash was in the water of the park’s lake and creek, but could not reach it. This lead to the idea of another possible clean up and  to incorporate kayaks and canoes to help them access the water to reach the floating litter. 

When planning the park clean up they reached out to the County of Bergen where the park is located in, and found a number of resources and support the county had to offer for clean up projects, including trash cleaning equipment (bags, gloves, pickers), and mini grants to support non-profit groups for their Clean Communities Program in Bergen County, NJ. The county office also has an environmental specialist who can help advise on the kind of projects to have. 

Interested in cleaning an area of your city? Contacting your local municipality is a great way to start and get support for a street or park clean up. Check out your local county webpage to see what opportunities might be available.