Community cleanup checklist: Litter-free campaign, Volunteer Day, Earth Day

By: Jessica Strachan | Southfield Sun | Published April 16, 2014

SOUTHFIELD — This is among Sherry Nathan’s favorite times of the year.

While it still isn’t boating weather on the Great Lakes and its not sunny enough for a dip in the pool, it’s the season of baseball, seed planting and spring cleaning.

“I find it to be refreshing. There’s excitement in seeing the weather break and all the people outside after a cold, hard winter like we just had,” the Southfield resident said. “It goes from gray skies and muddy snow to green grass and blue skies.”

The pristine yards, vibrant blooms and air purifying trees aren’t only up to Mother Nature, though. It takes residents pulling together to beautify the community.

That’s what makes occasions such as Earth Day and Arbor Day — both coming up this month — so special, Nathan added.

“It calls us to act, to do something,” she said. “Even if it’s just for that one day of the year, you’re helping out … in ways that could last all year, sometimes.”

Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence is introducing an initiative this year that she hopes will have an impact that lasts a lifetime.

Keep Southfield Clean: Litter Free Starts with Me is a campaign that focuses on educating students in Southfield Public Schools about the importance of maintaining a clean, litter-free city. The program runs in partnership with the district and the city’s waste management division to complement existing programs, such as Eyes on Southfield.

“Maintaining a clean and attractive community should be a top priority for any city,” Lawrence said in a press release. “The Keep Southfield Clean — Litter Free Starts with Me campaign is designed to not only educate students about the importance of this, but also to actively engage the community in citywide cleanup and maintenance efforts so that, together, we can keep Southfield clean!”

To bring it all together, a citywide cleanup day will be held April 26. Volunteers will spruce up all Southfield public schools in the city. Organizers say the goal is for the community of neighbors, students, staff and friends to come together in creating and maintaining an attractive environment for everyone.

The campaign also includes a video contest open to elementary students to illustrate why it’s important to maintain a litter-free and clean community, with cash prizes awarded to the winning teams for school beautification projects.

Teaching young Southfielders the value of being good stewards of the environment fits right in with the other curb-appeal efforts in the city, according to Michael Manion, Southfield community relations manager.

“Residents have a vested interest in maintaining a clean and attractive community for all to enjoy,” Manion said. “From improving property values to overall quality of life, it is important that everyone pitch in to keep Southfield beautiful. The Keep Southfield Clean campaign is a great opportunity for the entire community — young and old — to get involved, give back and be a part of Southfield’s continued enhancement and improvement.”

To get involved in community cleanup this month, mark your calendars for these days:

• Earth Day, April 22 — Use this day to invest in reducing your carbon footprint: Commit to recycling, incorporate a solar-powered item into your household, unplug to reduce energy, bike instead of drive or even stroll your street to pick up litter. Visit for more ideas.

• Arbor Day, April 25 — It’s an occasion dating back to 1872 to inspire citizens to plant, care for and celebrate trees. Visit a local nursery, plant a tree or donate to make the world a bit greener and healthier. For more information, visit

• Volunteer Day, April 26 — Sign up for the inaugural Keep Southfield Clean: Litter Free Starts with Me campaign and work alongside youth to keep the schools and community at large clean. Call the Mayor’s Office at (248) 796-5100 for details.