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Northwest Arkansas residents and community groups are invited help keep our parks, trails and waterways clean by joining Pick Up Where You Play, a series of litter cleanups over the next several weeks.

The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, several cities, Boston Mountain Solid Waste District, and other local organizations have partnered to host cleanups during most weekends from late August through the end of October, starting Aug. 28 at Scull Creek in Fayetteville. Other participating cities include Elkins, Elm Springs, Farmington, Prairie Grove, Rogers and Springdale.

NWA Recycles joined as a co-organizer this year to emphasize the untapped potential in litter. Cans and plastic bottles that participants pick up can be recycled as long as they’re empty and fairly clean, and each cleanup will provide information on how to help that happen. Organizers will also be on hand at several locations to help sort recyclable materials and answer questions about local recycling systems.

“It is exciting that so many organizations are coming together to work on this regional event that is so important for our local waterways,” said Jane Maginot, stormwater educator with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension.

To find a cleanup in your community and more information, check out the list below. While most cleanups are one day only, Rogers will set up kiosks at various locations with litter removal supplies starting Sept. 1.

Participants will receive gloves, bags, and other supplies, as well as prizes at some locations. One lucky participant will also win a fishing trip for two on Beaver Lake sponsored by Beaver Water District and E & C Striper Guides.

This is the second annual Pick Up Where You Play event. The event began in 2020 in response to more people visiting outdoor spaces and leaving their trash behind during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s the schedule, but remember to check the link above before you go, as some details are still being filled in or could change.

  • Aug. 28. Fayetteville: Scull Creek at Fossil Cove Brewing Co., 8 a.m.-noon
  • Sept. 11. Devil’s Den State Park: Lee Creek at the Horse Camp, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Sept. 13. University of Arkansas students only (register through GivePulse): Tsa-La-Gi Trail, time TBD.
  • Sept. 18. Fayetteville (city-wide): Pick up supplies at Parks and Rec parking lot at 1455 S. Happy Hollow Road., 9 a.m.-noon.
  • Sept. 19. Benton County: Old Prairie Creek boat launch area, 9 a.m.-noon.
  • Sept. 25. Farmington: Farmington Library, 9-11:30 a.m.
  • Oct. 2. Elkins: East and Middle Fork of the White River, 9 a.m.-noon; ick up supplies at Bunch Park.
  • Oct. 3. Benton County: Highway 12 bridge, 9 a.m.-noon.
  • Oct. 16. Washington County: Bob Kidd Lake Game and Fish boat launch and Lake Elmdale at Heroncrest, both 9-11 a.m.
  • Oct. 17. Benton County: Corps Prairie Creek boat parking area, 9 a.m.-noon. Contact Teresa at Teresa.Sidwell@bentoncountyar.gov or Tim at tim.filbeck@bentoncountyar.gov for more information.
  • Oct. 23. Springdale: Spring Creek at Shiloh Square, 9 a.m.-noon.
  • Oct. 30. Fayetteville: Lake Fayetteville Environmental Study Center, 9:30 a.m.-noon.
  • Ongoing, Sept. 1 – Oct. 30: Rogers residents can find cleanup supplies to use throughout the city at several kiosks. Bentonville residents can register with the city to obtain litter cleanup supplies as well. (Bentonville: To enter the Pick Up Where You Play contest for a guided striper bass excursion, return the included reporting form or by posting a picture of collected litter with the hashtag #PickupwhereyouplayNWA on Instagram or Facebook. For questions, contact Baylea Birchfield at 479-271-3122.)