The W. Rockland St. Project, a block-wide initiative located in Germantown, has encouraged neighborhood improvement in a number of ways since it was started in 2009 by longtime residents Aine and Emaleigh Doley.
Earlier this summer, for example, the sisters organized a planting day where two-thirds of the block’s 46 households participated. The work done that day by the community has brightened the entire block, especially as flowers and plants have bloomed over the span of the summer.
And yet, like so many Philadelphia neighborhoods, the problem of litter persists despite periodic cleanups and committed residents. So Rockland St. has found a way to make the often tedious task of picking up trash into a fun and engaging community activity — especially for kids.
On August 8th, 15 kids, ages three to 13, took to the streets on a scavenger hunt for specific items often found in the heaps of litter tucked into vacant lots and scattered across sidewalks and front lawns.
Soon, the kids returned with full bags of trash, which were then poured out onto a table to show kids the kind of items that often get littered. According to the W. Rockland Street blog, “Displaying and sorting all that litter was the most important part of the experience. Kids got to see just what kind of trash was all over our block.”
The blog also encourages other neighborhoods to give this kind of activity a try:
“Game for just about anything, children play a big role in cleanups across Philadelphia and their involvement in beautifying their own neighborhoods helps change behavior. The scavenger hunt is an easy and very low cost activity that you can do on your block!”
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For further advice, here is a list of tips from some West Rockland’s most committed residents:
- “When you see a piece of trash on the ground, don’t walk by, just pick it up.” – Harmony, 11
- “No spitting.” – Ahjanayah, 11
- “Cleanup with brooms.” – Kevon, 9
- “Use the trashcan.” – Shaquille, 12
- “Sweep the porch.” – Khadiera, 11
- “When you see someone litter ask them to pick it up.” – Lamont, 10
- “No litter.” – Alan, 12
- “Pick up stuff and put it in the trash.” – Shireef, 6
- “Clean up once a week.” – Yahmina, 7
- ”Sweep the sidewalks on the block.” –Indiya, 8
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