Op-ed: Help clean up Pennypack Park

Friends of Pennypack Park is having its first cleanup this Saturday. Anyone can get involved.

By Nance Kerns

Friends of Pennypack Park will have its first cleanup of 2018 on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the ballfield on Holme Avenue between the bridge over Pennypack Creek near Winchester Avenue and Nazareth Hospital.

However, before we get started on a whole new year of new and returning volunteers, a new Earth Day button (2017’s was the Spotted Sandpiper) and a whole new barrage of trash to attack, we need to take a look back at our efforts of 2017.

We held eight cleanups (we were bedeviled for the second year in a row by weather for the Welsh and Cresco cleanup in June). We met 123 different people (do not do simple division here and think we averaged 15 people per cleanup).

We are fortunate that many people think it’s important and fun and come again and again. After all, if you think it’s fun to read the trash list, imagine how much fun it is to find the strange stuff!

These volunteers logged 668 hours to clean up the mess in your favorite park. In that time, our volunteers removed 325 bags of trash, 17.5 bags of cans, five shopping carts, seven tires, seven milk crates and a host of other stuff.

As usual with the annual review, we can’t publish the name and personally thank every one of the 123 people who came out all over again, although we are extremely grateful for any time that anyone can spare.

However, representing “every volunteer,” we present you a list of people who came out to at least half of our cleanups in 2017: Linda Davies, David and Gloria El, Joyce Ferrero, Rich Glaser, Tom Henry, Karen Kaczorek, Alan Kaminsky, Nance Kerns, Kenneth Larsen, Dean Lynd, Tim McAndrews, Robert McMunn, the Rev. Terri McNamara of St. Luke’s United Church of Christ, Andrew Puzdrak, George Scholl, Ralph Smith, Kevin Sweetra, Jason Trenchard, Audrey Walmsley and Roland Williams.

Over the course of the eight cleanups, our volunteers removed a staggering amount of trash. We will kindly not list all 229 different pieces of trash (yes, it’s all on an Excel spreadsheet).

However, there are certain things worth mentioning.

We begin with the pieces de resistance from 2017: the top of a vanity, a Little League baseball uniform, a Mr. Stubby claw hammer, two rusted cast iron frying pans, an Easy Nails Spa kit, two packs of 4 x 6 index cards still in their original plastic, a 2-foot doll in a red and yellow dress (runner-up was a pair of handcuffs) and a wheelchair.

However, this doesn’t tell the whole story.

To further paint the picture of this tale of trash, we need to include: 4½ hubcaps, a Lightning McQueen baby shoe, an eye mask from Qatar Airlines, four flip-flops, 10 sneakers, six socks, a Class of 2014 St. Katherine of Siena T-shirt, four resin chairs, four broken folding camp chairs, Christmas lights, a Citrosa Mosquito fighter, three coolers, a piece of rolling luggage, a smashed cell phone, five trash cans, three TVs, a VHS tape, a few metal studs, a cast iron bell, 22 advertisement signs, a peanut butter and jelly piece of toast, 14 cans of vegetables, 12 pens from the Al Schmidt for City Commissioner campaign, 24 different sports balls, a play police badge #1028, eight sleds and/or disc, a vuvuzela, a teddy bear and a “Good Job” sticker.

And we need to mention that a few things were just considered “freebies” by the volunteers: An umbrella, two blue resin chairs in good shape, a 12-volt battery (taken to a private recycler, in which case we made money), a milk crate, a watch, two dog toy basketballs and the Al Schmidt pens we will now be signing in with at our 2018 cleanups.

And then, of course, we also had a few things that couldn’t be disposed of in the normal fashion: blister packs of prescription medication (taken to the medication drop-off box at the 8th Police District), a BB gun (called into and removed by the 15th Police District) and eight bundles of undelivered mail (taken to the supervisor at the post office on Drummond Road).

We want to thank Jim Hunsberger of the city Department of Parks and Recreation for removing the rest of everything else.

If you care about Pennypack Park, think it needs to be cleaner than it is, and want an adventure, consider yourself cordially invited to any one or all of our 2018 monthly cleanups, starting with our first one on Saturday, March 24 (for the full list, go to our website, Facebook page, the guard house at Little City or the bulletin boards at Pine Road or Pennypack on the Delaware).

The standard rules apply: Wear long pants and appropriate footwear (sneakers, hiking boots, work boots); those volunteers who are under 18 must be accompanied by an adult; we supply the gloves, grabbers, water and pretzels.

If the weather looks “iffy” or you need to contact us, call 215–934-PARK.

Thanks again to our 2017 volunteers and in advance to our future 2018 volunteers. Your efforts make a difference for everyone who uses Pennypack Park. ••