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Why limit it to ‘annual,’ a thumbs up, and Bob…

At a work reception last week, a woman was telling me how her Scout troop looked forward to their “annual” clean up at a local lake.

The boys (and their parents) would fill bags with debris to be carted off to the dump. I asked if there was any thought given to recycling of materials, and while she agreed it was a good idea, her rationale was there was simply too much to deal with.

Ah. Sure, it’s laudable that a lake would be cleared of junk, but there is a big step missing in there somewhere. Why not take the added time, as a learning experience for the kids, to sort what they retrieve?

Moreover, and I didn’t mention this to the well-intentioned Scout leader, but I’d supplement the annual event by encouraging the kids to take control of their own trash and – no surprise here – pick up somebody else’s discards.


My first ‘thumbs up’ sign came Monday as I was dragging my sorry carcass along the final half-mile of my daily route. The bag wasn’t overly full, but it was getting there.

A woman on the other side of Sharon View whom I see with regularity gave me the thumbs up as we intersected going different directions. I gave her a mild wave back and kept on going. Apparently she’s seen me stoop over to grab junk often enough to know I’m not a bag man. Nice of her to recognize the effort.

My Monday-Tuesday haul that elicited the thumbs up.  I guess the next step is trying to figure out how to take this beast to the big time or the next level, whichever comes first.

My Monday-Tuesday haul that elicited the thumbs up. I guess the next step is trying to figure out how to take this beast big time or to the next level, whichever comes first.


My friend Bob up in Des Moines, a devoted follower of this space whose constant encouragement of my efforts gets me out the door some days, is upping his suggestions that the act of picking up paths become a national endeavor rather than a one man rant. He’s onto something but that sort of promotion escapes me. If you have suggestions, reach me at


About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; one on 15 years of writing a weekly letter to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility. I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen letters as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for 'Pick Up Your Path' and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

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