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Northland groups plan Earth Day cleanup events

The public is invited to cleanups and educational activities throughout the week.

Two people pose with a pile of garbage in the back of a pickup truck.
Volunteers Tristen Eberling, Ecolibrium3, left, and Julius Venuti, Ecolibrium3 VISTA, pose with a load of trash picked up during the Main Street Lincoln Park Spring Cleanup in 2021.
Contributed / Shannon Laing, Ecolibrium3
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DULUTH — With the spring melting season comes the spring pile of trash discovery season. In recognition of Earth Day on Friday, Northlanders have organized cleanup events this week to encourage residents to get outside and pick up their neighborhoods.

Spruce up Lincoln Park

In Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood, this year marks the second community trash cleanup organized by Ecolibrium3 and the Main Street Lincoln Park. The cleanup will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday starting at Ursa Minor Brewing, 2415 W. Superior St., Suite B.

Organizer Shannon Laing said they've been planning this event since 2021.

"It was such a wild success last year," Laing said. "To the point where I told the organizers at the city to please put us down again for Saturday around Earth Day again next year when they came to gather the vests and pickers. So many people had asked me if we were going to do this again, so I thought, well, we'd better."

Laing said the cleanup will include Garfield Avenue to 30th Avenue West and Michigan Street to Third Street, though they will expand their coverage if they get more volunteers.

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The 2021 cleanup had 78 volunteers. Laing said they have a goal of 90 volunteers this year and already have over half that goal registered.

Lincoln Park cleanup volunteers must register by Wednesday at ecolibrium3.salsalabs.org/lnpkspringcleanup2022 .

The cleanup is also one of the final events in a week of Earth Week events organized by Ecolibrium3. From April 19-23, every day has a different focus on climate actions people can take.

"We're really focusing in on helping citizens who ask, 'What difference can I make?' and saying, 'Here are some very basic actions you can take,'" Laing said. "Hop on a 'Lunch and Learn' or come make a flower seed bomb with native plants for your neighborhood. There are lots of ways to get involved."

Help Keep Duluth Clean

If you're looking for other Earth Day events, Keep Duluth Clean is hosting a program where volunteers can sign up online to choose a location for the citywide spring cleanup Saturday.

"People can pick their favorite hiking trail, park or area and gather together their friends or family or even their dog and take a walk and clean up," said Joe Murphy, community outreach coordinator for Keep Duluth Clean. "Everyone is encouraged to use their own garbage disposal means for what they pick up, but if you find something too big, we have some large-scale dumpsters for stuff. Make a note in your online report about your cleanup and we can follow up."

042620.N.DNT.VirtualCleanup c04.JPG
Sally Trnka, right, looks for litter on Columbus Avenue while her mother, Cindy Macaulay, center, places trash into a bag held open by Macaulay's partner, Dennis Angell, during the 2020 Keep Duluth Clean Virtual Cleanup.
Tyler Schank / File / Duluth News Tribune

Keep Duluth Clean's event Saturday is its third spring cleanup. The committee formed during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way of organizing a socially distanced event. In 2020, 600 volunteers removed over 3 tons of waste from public spaces. In 2021, volunteers picked up approximately 7 tons of waste.

"I think it's important for people to feel connected to their community," Murphy said. "I definitely feel more connected and have a sense of obligation to keep our community beautiful and welcoming."

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Murphy said he likes to pick up trash around his Endion neighborhood, even when the spring cleanup day is over. He said he finds a lot of food wrappers, disposable masks and plastic bags.

"It's important to keep these things from ending up in our water," Murphy said. "That's why I hope we'll see even more people out cleaning up this year."

Register for Keep Duluth Clean's Spring Cleanup at keepduluthclean.org/take-action .

Earth Day events

Tuesday, April 19-Saturday, April 23 

Ecolibrium3 in Duluth hosts "Lunch and Learn" webinars, a solar tilt, shadow gardening and stone soup preparation. For a full listing of events, visit ecolibrium3.org/earthweek.

Friday, April 22

Superior Earth Day, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Central Park, 717 Sixth Ave. E., Superior. Learn about the water cycle, take part in kite decorating, plant milkweed and clean up cigarette butts. Free and open to the public. In the event of rain, it will take place at the Superior-Douglas County Family YMCA.

Earth Day Clean Up, 10 a.m.-noon, Anytime Fitness, 4865 Miller Trunk Highway, Hermantown. An Earth Day cleanup around the building and frontage road. Bags, gloves and snacks will be provided to volunteers.

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Earth Day Fair, 4:30-7:30 p.m., 317 W. Fifth St., Grand Marais. A community celebration of the environment and to nurture individual and community action toward climate solutions. Free. For more information, visit cookcountylocalenergy.org/event-details/earth-day-fair

Saturday, April 23

Earth Day Celebration, 10 a.m.-noon, Cloquet Public Library, 320 14th St., Cloquet. People of all ages are invited. The free event will feature a kids clothing swap, DIY no-sew T-shirt bag, grow-your-own cucumber seedling and more.

Earth Day Clean-Up with Castle Danger, 10 a.m.-noon, 17 Seventh St., Two Harbors. Meet at Castle Danger Brewery and disperse from there. Prizes will be given to those who find the weirdest and heaviest pieces of trash and who picks up the most. Adults 21 and older get a free pint token. Snow/rain date is Sunday. Sign up at tinyurl.com/ehwrnhf8.

Main Street Lincoln Park Spring cleanup, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Ursa Minor Brewing 2415 W. Superior St., Duluth. Register by Wednesday at ecolibrium3.salsalabs.org/lnpkspringcleanup2022 to sign up for a time slot. Grabbers, gloves and trash bags will be provided.

Teri Cadeau is a general assignment and neighborhood reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cadeau has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area for eight years including: The Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.
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