Evanston celebrates Earth Day with neighborhood cleanups


Residents of Evanston greeted the Earth this weekend as they picked up trash in the town.

Earth Day, April 22, was marked by a tumultuous rainstorm, so the bright sunshine and clear skies that greeted the following day, Saturday, April 23, made neighborhood cleanups even more festive. .

Various city organizations have sponsored cleanups, including Downtown Evanston, the Kiwanis Club and the Evanston Ecology Center, which provided free trash bags and gloves to residents wishing to organize their own cleanup.

The roundtable met with volunteers participating in the Main-Dempster Mile cleanup, organized by Katherine Gotsick, General Manager of the Main-Dempster Mile Special Duty Area.

Katherine Gotsick poses in front of cleaning supplies outside the coLab Evanston at 1880 Oak Ave. (Photo by Debbie-Marie Brown)

“The story of the cleanup started with just one park,” Gotsick said. In 2017, the group held a cleanup at Jennifer Morris Park, on the southeast corner of Custer Avenue and Washington Street. So many people showed up, according to Gotsick, the Main-Dempster Mile was encouraged to expand its cleaning zone for years to come.

This year, Gotsick and Jackson Adams, a two-year Main-Dempster Mile volunteer, sent volunteers along Dempster Avenue and Sherman Avenue to Raymond Park, Curry Park, CTA Park and Gray Park between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. pm, more than 100 volunteers had participated, according to Gotsick and Adams.

Each volunteer received gardening gloves, rubber gloves, hand sanitizer, wipes, a trash bag and a neon green wristband that allowed participants to redeem treats at several businesses along the Main-Dempster Mile after cleaning, Gotsick said.

Gotsick organized several of the participating groups, including 20 members of a local Girl Scout troop, students from Beacon Academy, members of Kappa Phi Lambda from Northwestern University and a Bible study group.

Gray Park neighbors went the extra mile to clean up the area, Gotsick said, not only scrubbing but also sanding and staining picnic tables, as well as raking leaves.

Northwestern students Tahj Burnett and Rand Meyer

Northwestern students Tahj Burnett, 21, of St. Louis, and Rand Meyer, 18, of Los Angeles, also helped with the cleanup.

The two are both part of Northwestern’s mock trial team and had learned about the cleanup from a friend.

“We just wrapped up our national competition, which means the mock trial is pretty much over for the year,” Meyer said. “And with our extra time, we thought we were just, you know, getting our good boy points for the month.”

Burnett said they were both excited to find other activities to participate in during their free time.

“I’ve done service events on Earth Day before, but they weren’t cleanup related. They were just like, oh, it’s Earth Day. Let’s go do something,” said Burnett: “It’s one of the only great days we’ve had in a long time for the spring term. And I feel like it’s probably one of the best ways to spend it.”

Members of Girl Scout Troup 47273 enjoyed a sweet treat at Frio Gelato, 1301 Chicago Ave., after helping clean up the Main-Dempster Mile with their families on Earth Day, Saturday, April 23. Left to right: Paloma Cvetkovic (6), Elliot Empfield (6), Carinna Furlow (6) with her brother Caden Furlow (4), Emily Morrow (6) and Maisie Martin (6). (Photo by Evan Girard)

Michael Morrow and his 6-year-old daughter, Emily Morrow

Emily Morrow is a six-year-old Girl Scout who helped clean up CTA Park, then received a Girl Scout badge for doing so.

“I cleaned up with all my friends, I picked up plastic bottles and glass,” she said.

His father, Michael Morrow, a lifelong Evanston resident, said his favorite part of the day was getting the area a bit cleaner and spending time outside on a nice day. When we caught up with the father and daughter team, they were visiting several businesses to collect prizes, such as ice cream and dog treats, using their Main-Dempster Mile wristband.

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