Help care for area parks

10/04/2012 8:00 PM

10/05/2012 4:30 AM

This weekend is the N.C. Big Sweep, a time when families can help take care of the parks that make the Triangle such a great place to raise kids.

The Big Sweep mobilizes people all over the state to clean up parks and waterways. In years past, volunteers have collected 14,000 to 20,000 pounds of trash in Wake County alone on this weekend.

It’s a great opportunity to get kids involved in community service and teach them the importance of clean land and water.

“We’re helping parents instill a community ethic and a stewardship ethic into their children,” said Sheila Jones, the Wake County Big Sweep Coordinator. “Once you spend three sweaty hours picking this stuff up, you think twice before you throw something out the car window.”

Wake County has the most options for families that want to participate in the cleanup. Below are some places you can volunteer this weekend. Jones advises that you call ahead to let them know you are coming and make sure there is work appropriate for children.

• Lake Benson in Garner: Registration (with free biscuits) begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at White Deer Park Nature Center. Cleanup is 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Appropriate for ages 5 and up. For details, call 919-661-6892 or email
• Lake Crabtree in Morrisville: Meet at 9 a.m. Saturday at the boat rental complex. Cleanup continues until noon. To register, call 919-460-2723.
• Durant Nature Park in North Raleigh: Meet at the park office at 9 a.m. Saturday. Cleanup goes until noon. To register, call Amy Corbally at 919-870-2871 or email
• Blue Jay Point County Park in North Raleigh: Meet at 9 a.m. Saturday for distribution of supplies. Cleanup 9 a.m. to noon. Appropriate for ages 8 and up. Pre-registration is required by calling 919-870-4330 or emailing
• Lake Johnson in West Raleigh: Meet at the boat house at 9 a.m. Saturday. Cleanup until noon. For information, call 919-233-2121.
• Harris Lake in New Hill: Meet at 2 p.m. Sunday at the park office. Wear closed-toe shoes and clothing for shoreline cleanup. Kids ages 6 and up are welcome. To register, call 919-387- 4342 or email

To find volunteer opportunities in other counties, visit

If you’re not in the mood for cleaning up this weekend, there are a few other fun events.

• Oak View County Park, at 4028 Carya Drive in Raleigh, will hold its Heritage Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It will be like an old-time county fair with live animals, live music, agricultural displays, a craft sale and a quilt auction.
• Marbles Kids Museum, at 201 E. Hargett St. in Raleigh, will celebrate the Worldwide Day of Play 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday with games and events. The symphony will also be there with its Music Makers program from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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