WICHITA MOUNTAINS WILDLIFE REFUGE, OK (TNN) - The Great American Cleanup is underway in Oklahoma and volunteers at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge are taking part. The cleanup encourages people to clean public spaces and participate in beautification and recycling events to help keep America beautiful.
Jim Meyer, with the Friends of the Wichitas, said he wants to use this cleanup to let people know that it's everybody's job to keep the refuge clean. He said it's not uncommon to find litter in picnic areas and well-traveled trails at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge which is why around 20 volunteers spent the morning picking up garbage.
On Tuesday, they found cigarettes, packages, beer cans, plastic bottles and miscellaneous trash. Meyer said once they’re finished, they go to lunch and talk about the craziest items they found. On this trip, they picked up one left boot.
"A lot of people might consider it work,” Meyer said. “But, to me, it's a real pleasure because of the beauty of the place and the fact that being able to keep it clean for everybody else is something that we really enjoy doing because it's a way we can give back."
Meyer loves spending time at the refuge and wants to make sure it stays in good condition for generations to come. He said it makes him sad to see that people don't bother taking their trash with them when they leave.
"I just hope you think about it because you wouldn't do it around your own house, your own yard, and this is your yard,” he said. “This is your refuge, and so by taking care of the trash and picking up what you bring in and bringing it out with you, you're going to make it that much easier for everybody to enjoy the beauty of this place."
Meyer is asking for everyone to not only pick up their trash but pick up other people’s garbage when they see it while hiking. If someone would like to help keep the refuge clean, the Friends of the Wichitas picks up trash the first Tuesday of every month. They meet at the Visitors Center at 9 a.m. before splitting up into groups.