Fort Worth community members and environmentalists join forces at cleanup event


Local elementary students pickup trash along the Trinity River. (Georgie London/Staff Writer)

By Georgie London, Staff Writer

The Keep Fort Worth Beautiful Program held its 38th annual Cowtown Great American Cleanup on Saturday. There were around 5,000 people registered for the day’s events and 500 volunteers to pick up trash.

In 2022, Fort Worth City Services picked up over more than 11 million pounds of litter. The cleanup event, hosted by the Code Compliance department, allowed citizens to minimize this litter.

The Environmental Quality team’s booth allowed attendees to vote on their favorite fashion piece made from recycled trash at the Earth Party. (Georgie London/Staff Writer)

“Our volunteers are all across the city, so we see a real big connection with community and people getting activated around the issue of litter,” said Avery Pesek, Keep Fort Worth Beautiful Program coordinator.

Volunteer groups were assigned zones along Trinity Trail and Trinity River.

A specialized kayak group was organized by Trinity Coalition. They were stationed on the riverbank on Old University Drive behind Ol’ South Pancake House.

“During the pandemic, when a lot of people were running or walking, there was so much trash and I wanted to do cleanups using boats,” said Laurie Stelljes, Vice Chair of The Sierra Club.

The club joined forces with Trinity Coalition to clean the river and have cleanup hubs from Clearfork to Panther Island.

The boat cleanup group was asked to be a part of the Cowtown Cleanup and they have been involved for three years now.

The event’s impact stretches beyond a temporary solution to current littered sites.

Volunteers work with members of the Trinity Coalition to cleanup litter in the Trinity River using kayaks. (Georgie London/Staff Writer)



“If you go out to pick up litter you are a lot less likely to litter and you are more likely to call out your neighbors if you see them littering,” Pesek said.

Following the three hour trash cleanup that began at eight in the morning, volunteers and other community members were invited to an earth party. The event included a live band, a trash fashion show, a dog adoption site, a picnic and many local organizations tabling and selling artisan goods.

“Litter can be found almost anywhere in the Fort Worth community,” Pasek said. “We get immune to litter after we’ve seen it a while, so I don’t think people realize the extent of the issue.”