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Pick Up Where You Play 2021 has come to a close with 11,520 pounds of litter removed from Northwest Arkansas’ waterways, trails and parks.

More than 500 volunteers helped from late August through the end of October at 22 locations, which included sites in Elkins, Elm Springs, Farmington, Fayetteville, Prairie Grove, Rogers and Springdale. Groups filled almost 600 large trash bags, including 37 bags recyclables — thousands of cans and bottles that will be put to new use instead of being left in our natural areas or thrown in the landfill.

That success outpaces last year’s Pick Up Where You Play, when about 4 tons were collected by almost 300 participants.

Cathy White of Rogers joined the Prairie Creek cleanup on Oct. 17, which was led by Benton County Environmental Division and Wonderful Waterways, and won this year’s giveaway prize: a fishing trip for two on Beaver Lake sponsored by Beaver Water District and E & C Striper Guides.

“My husband and I love the natural beauty of northwest Arkansas and wish to become stewards of its environment,” White said. “We enjoyed the exercise and camaraderie of the cleanup endeavor. Hope to do it again and again.”

To all of you who joined us: Thank you! You helped keep Northwest Arkansas’ outdoors beautiful and healthy and helped conserve recyclable materials like aluminum and glass.

The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, several cities, Boston Mountain Solid Waste District and NWA Recycles were among the local organizations that partnered to host the cleanups for Pick Up Where You Play’s second year.

Sponsors also included Keep Arkansas Beautiful, Fossil Cove Brewing Co., KFSM 5NEWS and the Boston Mountain district.

Cleanups continue throughout the year, so stay tuned for more on this blog and from community organizations including: