Northwest Arkansas residents and community groups can once again help keep the region’s parks, trails and waterways beautiful and safe by joining the third annual Pick Up Where You Play, a series of litter cleanups starting this week (find the schedule below).
Several cities and other local organizations, including NWA Recycles, have partnered to host cleanups throughout the next two months. The series will begin Sept. 10 with events in both Bentonville and along Lee Creek in Devil’s Den State Park and will end Nov. 5 at Lake Wilson south of Fayetteville. NWA Recycles is hosting a cleanup for the first time on Sept. 24 near the Northwest Arkansas Mall, and you’re welcome to join us.
Pick Up Where You Play 2022 is dedicated to Michael Harp, who worked for 20 years at Boston Mountain as a recycling driver, transfer station manager and finally chief environmental officer before his death on July 10. As chief environmental officer, Harp educated the public as well as local and state agencies on environmental law and the hazards of illegal trash disposal, working thousands of cases across Madison and Washington counties. Siloam Springs, Harp’s hometown for much of his life, will host a cleanup on Oct. 15.
“Mike cared deeply for people and the environment and was always willing to jump in and help wherever needed,” said Robyn Reed, the waste district’s director. “He will be greatly missed by his coworkers and friends, and these cleanups will be a wonderful way to honor his legacy.”
Participants will receive gloves, bags and prizes, including a chance to win a two-night cabin and float trip for four on the Elk River thanks to sponsor Gracie’s Canoe Camp (see the full slate of partners and sponsors after the schedule below).
Pick Up Where You Play began during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic with the idea that the outdoor spaces that provide relaxation and recreation also need our help. Litter harms wildlife, hurts water quality and ultimately impacts our region’s ecosystems and drinking water supplies — and much of it could be recycled, too. Each cleanup is a chance to prevent that damage and take an active role in conserving the region’s natural resources.
More than 500 volunteers joined last year’s cleanups, collecting more than 5 tons of litter from dozens of locations and recycling thousands of bottles and cans.
Here’s this year’s schedule. Check the main Pick Up Where You Play website for any updates.
Saturday, Sept. 10th
Sunday, Sept. 11th
- Pineville Public Access to Gracie’s Canoe Camp in Pineville, Missouri, 1-3 p.m.; click here for the flyer or click here for the Facebook event page.
Saturday, Sept. 17th
- Lake Fayetteville, 9-11:30 a.m.; click here for the Facebook event page.
- Lake Atalanta in Rogers – more info soon!
Saturday, Sept. 24th
- Clear Creek Trail by the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville, 9-11 a.m.; here’s the Facebook event. (NWA Recycles is hosting this one!)
- Lake Elmdale between Springdale and Elm Springs, 1-3 p.m.; click here for the flyer.
Thursday, Sept. 29th
- Spring Creek Cleanup at Shiloh Square in Springdale, 4-6 p.m. with free food, monarch butterfly release and live music starting at 6 p.m.; click here for the flyer and here for the Facebook event.
Saturday, October 8th
- West Fork of the White River, 9 a.m. to noon; click here for more info.
Wednesday, Oct. 12th – Sunday, Oct. 16th
- Bella Vista, Little Flock and Pea Ridge with pickup and drop-off locations in all three cities. See flyer here for details.
Saturday, Oct. 15th
- Siloam Springs, 9 a.m. to noon; volunteers can sign up by emailing their name and T-shirt size to litter@BentonCountyAR.gov.
- Lake Sequoyah in Fayetteville, 9:30 a.m. to noon; click here for the flyer.
- Hwy. 59 Illinois River Access south of Siloam Springs, 9-11 a.m.; click here to register.
- Chamber Springs Illinois River Access, 9-11 a.m.; click here to register.
- NWA Bridge Day Cleanup – more info soon!
Saturday, Oct. 22nd (Make A Difference Day)
- Farmington Fall Festival and Litter Cleanup, 9-11 a.m.; click here for the flyer.
- Beaver Lake Volunteer Day, 7:30 a.m. to noon; more info soon.
- Fayetteville Trails Cleanup, 10 a.m. to noon; more info soon.
- Hamstring Creek in Fayetteville, 1-3 p.m.*; click here to register.
- Clabber Creek in Fayetteville, 1-3 p.m.*; click here to register.
- Bob Kidd Lake in Prairie Grove, 1-3 p.m.*; click here to register.
*Volunteer Appreciation Happy Hour at Fossil Cove Brewing Company at 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 5th
- Lake Wilson south of Fayetteville, 9:30 a.m. to noon.