Today’s blog comes from Annie, our new Hotline Assistant! She joined the ILACSD team in February and now that she has settled into her new role, we’d like to officially introduce her to all of you! Read on to learn more about Annie and find out what made her first Creek to Bay Cleanup so meaningful.
First and foremost, I would like to introduce myself, my name is Anais “Annie” Rodriguez. I have been with the ILACSD team for a couple months as the newest Hotline Assistant. I assist hotline callers with their recycling questions and help maintain the County of San Diego’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste Database, www.WasteFreeSD.org. Before joining ILACSD, I graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Environmental Policy.
As a new team member at ILACSD, the Creek to Bay Cleanup was a completely new experience for me. I was eager to spend time with volunteers and to clean up my community. This year, the Creek to Bay media site was at Southcrest Community Park so this event really hit home for me, since I grew up a few blocks from the park and the areas we cleaned up.
The day started a bit gloomy but cleared up right before the cleanup kick-off, perfect timing! Volunteers at the site were ready to get to work right after registering. I helped volunteers sign up for service projects and handed out supplies.
When registration was over I sorted out trash in the dumpster with other ILACSD staff. While sorting we found: toilet seats, car seats, metal frames, cans, and bottles. We went ahead and removed all recyclable items and placed them in the correct bin so unnecessary items didn’t end up in the landfill. We also received a few big items like a kitchen sink, a bed, and 3 shopping carts. Unfortunately, many of the big items were found in the creek bed, but with the help of our amazing volunteers we were able to remove it! I immediately saw the aesthetic difference of the creek and reflected on the importance of proper disposal of trash and recycling. One volunteer really stood out to me because he expressed such excitement about what we were doing there and how he is eager to make behavioral changes that will benefit his community.
Besides picking up trash, there were opportunities to participate in a few other service projects at Southcrest Park. Volunteers removed invasive plants from the creek bed, stenciled storm drain along the nearby streets, as well as painted park benches and other areas to remove graffiti. The park was left looking as good as new!
I had an amazing time getting to know our volunteers, working with the ILACSD team, and cleaning up my community! It was also so inspiring to see my nieces and their friends get excited about cleaning up our community. It was also a great example of the importance of not littering! The whole experience left me feeling empowered and motivated; I can’t wait for the next clean-up!
But before we start talking about our next cleanup, we’d like to debut our preliminary totals for this year’s Creek to Bay Cleanup! Drum roll please……..
We would like to thank all of our 5,700 volunteers who took the time to make their communities clean and ensuring that our local waterways stay free of trash and pollutants! Thanks to your help, we cleaned and beautified a record number of 106 outdoor spaces and successfully removed approximately 125,000 pounds of debris countywide!
We would like to also thank our event sponsors and partners for all the help and a special thanks to Lexi Ambrogi and Natalie Roberts for coordinating such an awesome event.