Trail Cleanup Just One Way Our Volunteers Care for the Environment

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Mary Dallao Tweet Us @WalkArlington@WalkArlington February 13, 2023

Mary Dallao is the Program Manager for WalkArlington. She loves being outdoors and can often be found walking or running on one of Arlington’s beautiful trails.

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Participating in a trail cleanup like the one we hosted for Martin Luther King Jr. Day is just one way to care for the environment. Making active transportation choices is another very powerful way to care for our planet.

It was not surprising to me that 120 people joined our Martin Luther King Jr. Day Washington & Old Dominion Trail (W&OD) Cleanup, which we hosted in partnership with BikeArlington. People engaged in our mission to promote active transportation are also committed to preserving the environment.

Working from 9 a.m.-noon along the trail between Columbia Pike and South George Mason Drive, I was heartened by the tenacity of our volunteers. They were not afraid to climb into the thorny vegetation alongside the trail to extract not only bottles, cans, and food packaging, but also car parts, pipes, fluorescent light bulbs, and other items you wouldn’t expect to be discarded along a trail. By the time we were finished, we had collected 111 big bags of trash.

The team from the Friends of the W&OD came out to participate and support us at the event. Staff from the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, which oversees the trail, provided us with supplies and collected the trash the next day.

Organizing something that made a difference for a trail felt good, especially one that many of us use regularly, whether commuting to work, running errands, or cycling, walking, or running for exercise.

Lifestyle Choices Matter

Great as it was to have collected so much trash, it was sobering to think that dealing with litter on an Arlington trail represents just one of the challenges we face in preserving our planet for future generations.

We were doubly encouraged that many participants chose not to drive to the event, instead arriving on foot, by bicycle, or on the ART bus. For some, it wasn’t practical to ride or walk that day, but they were committed to using active transportation at other times.

Showing concern for the environment through active transportation choices is another very powerful way to care for our planet. Many of us cannot dispense with driving completely, and that’s okay. But every mile we choose to walk or bike is 404 grams of CO2 saved. While this may not sound like much, over time it adds up, and it matters.

Want to learn how you can reduce your car trips? Check out this blog from BikeArlington for some ideas. 5 Easy Ways To Drive Less and Live More | BikeArlington

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