It’s spring cleaning time

One of the Trash Masters picks up trash along Roche Harbor Road.  - Contributed  photo
One of the Trash Masters picks up trash along Roche Harbor Road.
— image credit: Contributed photo

There is the slight suggestion of spring in the air; the days now last a little longer, the crocuses are beginning to sprout, and there are times  when the sun feels warm. 

These are the kinds of things that coax islanders like Stephanie Prima-Sarantopulos out of doors. 

There is only one thing that spoils a walk for her. Trash. 

“The county has lost all funding to have the road crews, and the roads are looking horrible,” she said. 

Prima-Sarantopulos said that there are many individuals like herself who take the time to clean up sections of the road. Her monthly pick-up along Wold Road, however, never feels quite enough, “no matter how long I clean there is always trash.”

So what to do? To Prima-Sarantopulos, the answer seemed to be a strength in numbers approach. 

Initially she suggested a large scale clean-up to the Soroptismts, of which she is a member, and the other service clubs on the island. “Then I thought shoot, why limit it to the service clubs?” 

Thus the seeds of the Great Island Clean-Up were sown. Scheduled for April 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the public event will cover all San Juan Island roadsides and beaches. 

The committee for the clean-up is sending out an island wide invitation to everyone and anyone to come and help give the island a spring cleaning. 

Prima-Sarantopulos said that she believes it is the first time all the service clubs, including the Boy and Girl Scouts, have grouped together to promote a clean up. 

Additionally Friends of the San Juans and  The San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce are sponsors. Tom Kirscher, executive director of the chamber, said that the chamber volunteers may be able to tackle to the town’s litter, “We’d like to get our island looking like the jewel it is,” he said.  

San Juan Island has a history of anti-litter campaigns. Lori Stokes and David Dehlendorf, both on the Great Island Clean-Up committee, have a seven year history of fighting trash on the island. 

Their Anti-Litter Initiative produced projects and inspirations for people to get pro active about keeping the island clean. The Trash Masters, who clean up Roache Harbor Road, and the Imagine No litter road adoption project both arose from the Anti-Litter initiative.  “It’s  a never ending battle,” said Stokes.

Stokes said she had a couple of expectations of the clean- up, “Number one, all the accumulated litter will be picked up, so the island will be clean. When we go outside we’re not going to see it lying around. Secondarily, I’m hoping it will raise awareness and it will lead to less litter in the future,” Stokes said.  

Delendorf added that picking up litter can fit easily into the smallest of walks, it is not require massive effort. “(Picking up litter) doesn’t have to be a big commitment, just take a long a bag,” he said.

Prima-Sarantopulos made the point that this is an opportunity to contribute the island’s welfare for free. 

“Everyone talks about what such a great, tight knit community this is, there is always some kind of fundraiser, well  this is an opportunity to contribute without money.”

To participate, go to Market Place any time between April 1-8 to sign up for the section of road or beach that you’d like to clean. 

If you would prefer to work with a group that has already adopted a particular area, you can sign up for that instead. 

If you can’t sign up in person, contact Lori Stokes at 378-4643 or to reserve the area you wish to clean.  

The committee is not expecting people to hit the roads and beaches wearing only gloves. 

Although there are no funds to provide free safety vests, trash grabbers and other equipment,  ACE hardware is offering the Great Island Clean-Up Special for $14.99. This package includes grabber, vest, and 3 garbage bags. Simply go to Ace and mention the Great Island Clean-Up Special at the counter. 

To compliment this Browne Hardware is offering volunteers free disposable gloves and a 25 percent discount on biodegradbale trash bags. 

“It’s time every single one of us takes responsibility for this island,” Prima-Sarantopulos said. 








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