Community spends Earth Day cleaning the MetroParks

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The Earth Day Clean Up allowed for groups to help clean the areas of Mill Creek MetroParks that park crews cannot always reach. Pictured, Austintown's Girl Scout Troop 80207 picked up trash from behind the Ford Nature Center.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.The Whispering Pines District of the Great Trail Council of Boy Scouts of America and Mill Creek MetroParks celebrated Earth Day with a park clean up from organizations within the community on April 21. Pictured, Canfield's Cub Scout Pack 25 helped pick up litter and other trash from Lake Newport Wetlands.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Many of the organizations who helped Mill Creek in the Earth Day Clean Up were scouting organizations. They learned the principal of "Leave no trace" through the program. Pictured, Girl Scout Service Unit 821 from Boardman and Poland returned from cleaning up a trail on Lake Newport East.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.In addition to scouting units, two businesses and four families helped with the Earth Day Clean Up. The program spanned 29 locations this year, such as Hitchcock Woods. Pictured, Poland's Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 9002 cleaned up the woods. They are Jason Vuksanovich, Joel David Roberts, Alex Mamonos, Gabe Deering, Noah Deering, Aston Williams, Evan Brockway, Will Bacho, Ralph Mould, Philip Centofante, Joey Wrenn, Pat Kelley, David Vuksanovich, Colin McDonald, Braxton Jones, Will Blumel, Connor Blumel, Nicholas DiTommaso, Caden Osman with leader Anthony DiTommaso.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

The Whispering Pines District of the Great Trail Council of Boy Scouts of America and Mill Creek MetroParks organized the annual Earth Day Clean Up on April 21.

Numerous scouting troops and community organizations visited 29 locations in the metropark to clean up litter and other debris from the areas. They received help from communities in Austintown, Boardman, Canfield, North Jackson, Poland, Struthers, Warren and Youngstown. Carol Vigorito, Recreation and Education Director of Mill Creek MetroParks, and Mike Kupec of the Whispering Pines District worked together to organize the program.

“It’s in my blood to help the environment,” said Kupec, who has worked with different forestry groups since he was a child. He created the event with Mill Creek’s then-recreational director 36 years ago. He wanted to give back on Earth Day and help clean up the park he grew up near.

Austintown had three organizations assist in cleaning the park: Cub Scout Pack 184, Boy Scout Troop 184 and Girl Scout Troop 80207. The pack cleaned the Lanterman Gorge, the Boy Scouts took the West Cohasset Trails and the Girl Scouts had the trail behind the Ford Nature Center.

“We want to teach the girls the importance of taking care of the planet,” said Kelly Turner, the head of the Girl Scout Troop 80207. She said this was the group’s first real introduction to the world of scouting.

Boardman had Cub Scout Pack 27 at Lake Newport, Boy Scout Troop 60 at the lower area of Bear’s Den, Venturing Crew 9033 on the Cohasset East Trail, Cub Scout Pack 114 at the MetroParks Farm and Girl Scout Service Units 820 and 821 in different parts of Lake Newport. The also had the Drund company clean up at Volney Rogers Field.

Paula Barany and Kelley Beatty of Girl Scout Service Units 821 both spoke about how they want to instill the Boy Scout of America’s principal of “leave no trace” in their scouts. The scouts said they got to enjoy nature and exercise while helping the environment. The unit incorporates children from 2-10 from Boardman and Poland.

The Canfield groups included Girl Scout Troop 80095 at the Mill Creek Preserve and Cub Scout Pack 25 and Boy Scout Troop 115 at Lake Newport. Boy Scout Troop 25 cleaned up at the West Coast Drive on April 25. Casal’s de’ Spa and Salon also joined the program, helping out at the Lake Glacier Boathouse.

Kevin Miller, the Tiger Den Leader for Cub Scout Pack 25, also spoke to the principals of “leave no trace.”

“Leave an area better than you found it,” he said about what the program teaches the children.

The group not only helped on Earth Day, but they organize hikes together throughout the year. They always take trash bags with them on these hikes to remove litter from nature.

Poland’s two groups, Girl Scout Troop 80591 and Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 9002, joined in the other groups on the activities. The girl scouts cleaned the area around the Slippery Rock Pavilion and the 9002 groups took the Hitchcock Woods.

“There’s a lot of trash in places you wouldn’t expect,” said Noah Deering, a boy scout with troop 9002. Anthony DiTommaso, the leader of the groups, said he wanted to help leave things natural and pick up the trash they find. The scouts found a lot of cigarette butts and glass in the woods.

Kupec and the leaders believe that the event is important. The first year of the program, they only focused on one hillside and they filled four dumpsters of trash.

The program has since expanded to 42 possible locations that the park decided would be best. Kupec said the event allows for groups to help clean the areas that park crews cannot always reach.

The event is open to the public each year. This year, Kupec and Vigorito had two businesses and four families helped with the program. They also get support from the Mahoning County Green Team Recycling Division and Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup program.

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