Garbage Be Gone


Sarah Walsh and Patrick Walsh

After two grueling hours, the job was done. The Emerson Woods, once littered with food wrappers and crushed cans, was now free of any and all remnants of garbage. 

Natalie Rehak, co-advisor of Emerson Junior-Senior High School’s Environmental and Sustainability Club (formerly, the Gardening Club) said the club aims “to provide opportunities for our students and school community to engage in projects that involve a variety of environmental awareness topics as well as sustainability projects.” This woods cleanup did just that. 

Of the reserve’s nineteen acres, the group was able to tackle ten acres. With over ninety participants, the cleanup crew was split up into sub-groups, and eventually collected thirty-five full garbage bags, clearing the area of all debris. 

This project was a joint effort by the Environmental and Sustainability Club, the High School Key Club, and the Emerson Environmental Commission. Many members felt inspired after donating their time to the cleanup. 

“It was calming to walk through the woods and help clean up. It also did not feel like a chore or something I was forced to do, I genuinely enjoyed it. Everyone was very nice, and they even gave us water and donuts if we wanted” said Juliana Palladino, an experienced Key Clubber. 

With such a great turnout and an overall consensus, the club hopes to conduct another cleanup near Earth Day. The club received a two-part $600 grant to use towards their future endeavors.

“I would love to help out with another cleanup in the spring and I encourage all to help with projects like this cleanup in the future,” said Palladino. The ever-growing support for the Environmental and Sustainability Club will only blossom from here.