The Town of Garner was awarded the 2015 Big Sweep Excellence Award by Wake Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors at their 50th anniversary conservation awards celebration Dec. 3. Wake County Big Sweep is a volunteer cleanup of local creeks, streams, lakes and wetlands countywide.
The Town of Garner consistently conducts Big Sweep cleanups in both the fall and spring, leading hundreds of volunteers in removing tons of unsightly litter from the environment. This is accomplished by two zone captains from two Garner departments: Jaclyn Sumner in Engineering and Katie Spencer from Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources. Parks and Recreation employee Kendrick Mayes also assists his town’s two Big Sweep zone co-captains.
Since the fall of 2006, the town of Garner has engaged a total of 623 volunteers in removing 7,457 pounds of litter from downtown Garner, and debris from White Deer and Lake Benson Parks.
The removal of trash improves Lake Benson which is an important drinking water reservoir for Garner and Raleigh, as well as Swift Creek, one of Wake County’s largest tributaries to the Neuse River.
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Garner’s volunteers come in all ages and from all walks of life – families with small children, teenagers, Scouts and youth groups, college students, adults from church groups and corporate employees. The one thing these volunteers have in common is a desire to be part of meaningful environmental stewardship and community service that benefits both their local parks’ wildlife inhabitants and human visitors.
“I work with many zone captains to make Wake County Big Sweep happen. The town of Garner stands out for their professionalism, effectiveness, and passion for going the extra mile,” said Wake County Big Sweep coordinator Sheila Jones. “Garner offers gracious hospitality to its volunteers by giving them a warm welcome and a hot breakfast of sausage biscuits to fuel their energy. They teach their volunteers that litter travels, and that their efforts will intercept the litter before it goes down the storm drains, or is washed directly into Swift Creek, the Neuse River, Albemarle-Pamlico Sound and eventually the Atlantic Ocean. The town of Garner is instrumental in the success of Wake County Big Sweep and has truly earned this deserving honor.”
To volunteer for Big Sweep events in Garner, call White Deer Park at 919-661-6982.