Volunteers pitch in to pick up trash at quarterly community cleanup day

Brittney Callister and Dee Vashti were please with the response their second clean up day generated. More than 50 volunteers of all ages helped clean trash along Highway 18. St. George, Utah, Jan. 20, 2020 | Photo by David Louis, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Despite overcast skies and chilly temperatures, dozens of people came out Monday to clean a stretch of state Route 18 near the Chuckawalla trailhead.

The community cleanup day, organized by Brittney Callister and Dee Vashti, motivated more than 50 residents to register, get up, get out, and make a difference for the environment by cleaning trash along the highway.

“Along with helping the environment, we wanted to get parents to get their kids outside,” Callister said.

This is the second cleanup day organized by Callister and Vashti.

“The main idea is to show kids how to do fun things outside that are free,” Callister said. “We are going to try to do similar cleanup days quarterly.”

The Potter family with a friend in tow put in some serious elbow grease cleaning up a stretch of Highway 18 Monday. St. George, Utah, Jan. 20, 2020 | Photo by David Louis, St. George News

Callister said it’s important to protect the environment, something that is such a “precious” resource. Many people driving down the highway don’t realize they are passing by hundreds of pounds of trash, she said.

“A big thing for me is the luxury that we have in Southern Utah of having public land,” Callister. “We can go hike wherever we want on that land, and I want to keep it clean. It’s important to teach kids that we only have one Earth and we must take care of it.”

It’s critical, Callister added, that children realize once something is broken it’s broken forever.

“You know the kids really love this,” she said. “It really carries over. My kids will be in a parking lot and see trash and point it out. I think they have become more mindful in their day-to-day life just how many people litter.”

Volunteers collecting trash littering the desert. St. George, Utah, Jan. 20, 2020 | Photo by David Louis, St. George News

The proud mother of five is over the moon that her children have taken a page from her book.

“I find my example is much more powerful than my words, telling not to litter,” Callister said. “I show them that I don’t litter and we clean up after others.”

People forget, she added, that it is so important to look around and keep their hometown clean.

It’s easy to be complacent, she said, to get up every morning, go to work, go to the grocery store, put gas in the car and not notice the amount of trash even in one’s own neighborhood.

“Once you get out and look, you will be blown away by how much is really there,” Callister said. “When you are right in front of it you realize it’s a mess out there.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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