Volunteers will plant, recycle, clean for Earth Day

With Earth Day just around the corner, many local agencies have already begun spearheading events to go along with the national environmental awareness effort.

A couple groups are using the day to underscore other, related issues.

Recently revived community pride organization Cleaniac will use the day to rake leaves and pick up trash at several local parks.

Dan Engesser, Cleaniac committee president, said he hopes the effort will inspire future generations to continue to keep Marshalltown looking nice.

“Our effort was to get the community to think about the importance of the appearance of the community,” he said. “Pride in the community is really important.”

Engesser said the group already has about 50 volunteers, and it is collaborating with the Optimist Club to clean Optimist Park. The group may add another park if more volunteers are available.

Another effort related to environmentalism is the Community Shred Day put on by The Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce and United Bank and Trust.

Curt Hoff, president of United Bank and Trust, said the bank offers the service to help protect customers’ identities but that Earth Day is a good time to highlight the event since the company that hauls the shredded documents recycles the 10,000 pounds of paper.

“We are trying to reduce the paranoia and clean up the environment,” he said. “That is a lot of Kleenex.”

Jennifer Hass, marketing director for the bank, said the event moves quickly and people do not even need to leave their cars. The bank asks that those dropping off old documents for shredding limit their number of boxes to five.

Marshalltown Parks and Recreation and Conservation Board will be planting trees as part of Earth Day.

The Conservation Board will end a day of nature-themed events by planting 10 evergreen trees. A geo scavenger hunt at Grimes Farm and Conservation Center will kick off the day April 20.

Scavengers will use a GPS to find clues to answer questions at eight hidden locations along the bikes trails between Grimes Farm and Riverview Park, said Diane Hall, naturalist at the center.

A walking scavenger hunt will also be available.

Following the hunt, Hall will give a presentation on Monarch butterflies, detailing how citizens can make the area attractive to the insects.

“We have the opportunity to provide habitat,” she said. “We can encourage people to think wisely about the use of chemicals.”

Free hot dogs will be available throughout the day. The board asks those wishing to participate in the geo scavenger hunt to register by April 17.

Later in the month, the Parks and Recreation Department will plant 29 trees at three local parks. On April 27, volunteers and communities leaders will take part in the state-wide Trees Forever and Alliant Energy Branching Out program where they will plant 18 trees at Riverview Park, six trees at Assistance League Park and five trees at Mega 10 Park.

Most of the trees at Riverview Park will be oaks, said Gary Mason, horticulturist for the program.

“It provides shade for the patrons, for the wildlife and fruit,” he said. “They are strong trees oaks are.”

Since 1991, Alliant has matched approximately $57,000 to help plant more than 6,800 trees.