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Scouts tidy park for Earth Day

YOUNGSTOWN — Many people are familiar with the ad that proclaims Maxwell House coffee as good to the last drop, but in a sense, Justin Hahn was doing his part to make Mill Creek MetroParks clean to the last cup.

“I found two bottles, two hockey pucks in the woods,” Justin, 7, a member of Austintown-based Cub Scout Pack 184, said, referring to some of the litter he removed from a section of the James L. Wick Recreation Area off McCollum Road on the West Side.

Also among his finds were a plastic cup and a few pieces of glass.

Justin was among the Scouts who participated Saturday in the 40th annual Mill Creek MetroParks Earth Day cleanup at numerous sites throughout the park.

Earth Day was Friday.

“I used to be in Boy Scouts when I was younger and I wanted to get him into it,” Justin’s father, Mike Hahn, said as he held open a plastic bag into which his son deposited trash he had picked up.

Father and son joined others who wore protective gloves and used grabbers as well as bags for trash and recyclables to get rid of litter in surrounding areas such as the large stage in the recreation area, as well as in adjacent wooded areas and the new hockey rink, said Mike Hahn, who also is Pack 184’s den leader.

Twelve Boy Scout troops, six Cub Scout packs, one Scouting Venturing crew and two Girl Scout troops were among those who fanned out Saturday morning to clean an estimated 32 sites throughout the park. Those who took part Friday were Youngstown State University’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Legacy Club and a local motorcycle club, Mike Kupec, event chairman, noted.

Park locations that were cleaned included Ax Factory Run, areas around Lake Newport, the Lily Pond, Cascade Run, the Chestnut Hill Pavilion and Calvary Run, Kupec said.

In addition, about 15 individuals participated, including Ben Thompson of Newton Falls and his girlfriend, Julia Blasiman of Canton.

“We thought it would be a good opportunity to do something good for the environment,” said Blasiman, who majored in biology at Kent State University but did little in the field.

The couple worked for more than an hour near Lake Glacier, then scoured a few steep hills in a section of the park in the Garden District Neighborhood near Belle Vista Avenue. Among the trash and debris they collected on the hills and adjacent trails were the usual beer and soda bottles, paper products, beer cans, straws, a tire and a one-gallon jug.

Blasiman also came across a not-so-typical item: what was left of a second tire’s sidewall that was protruding from a bank lining a nearby creek.

Neither Thompson nor Blasiman are affiliated with Scouting but wanted to take part on their own to make a positive difference for the park, they added.

Most of the estimated 400 adults and children were with the Stambaugh District, Great Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America, which covers Mahoning, Trumbull and eastern Portage counties.

Supporting the effort were the Mahoning County Green Team’s Recycling Division, along with Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup.

In the last 20 years, more than 2,800 bags of trash and more than 1,500 bags of recyclables, along with countless loose items such as pieces of furniture, wooden crates, pipes, toys and electronic items, have been collected in and near the park, the Stambaugh District said in a statement.

Kupec also said the cleanup will continue several days this week.

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