Friends of Karis Pumphrey celebrate 40th birthday by collecting litter

Published 4:51 pm Monday, April 19, 2021

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About the time some people were sitting down to Sunday brunch or dinner, a baker’s dozen volunteers were scouring the grass and weeds along Colby and McClure roads looking for litter.

They wore yellow safety vests with the words “Carrot’s Crew,” a play on the name Karis.

Karis Pumphrey, an environmentalist and manager of the Lower Howard’s Creek Nature Preserve, turned 40 Sunday, and when her friends asked her how she wanted to celebrate her birthday, she said she wanted to “pick up trash,” according to Shanda Cecil.

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So that’s what they did.

“It is true,” Pumphrey said. “Shanda and I have been trash picker uppers for a long time, so she is very good to make this happen.”

She seemed to be enjoying herself, and so were her friends.

Cecil, former director of the Strodes Creek Nature Conservancy, organized the team.

She said the volunteers were separating recyclable materials from “trash.”

Karis’s husband, John Pumphrey, said they had a regular birthday party for her Saturday, but were doing the cleanup on her actual birthday.

“We’re beautifying on Karis’s birthday, in her honor, because she’s 40,” he said enthusiastically.

It was a surprise, she said.

“I do have the best of friends, who are willing to give up their Sunday afternoon to make Clark County a better place,” she said.

Some have said there seems to be more roadside litter this year because not as many people are cleaning the roads.

Jailer Frank Doyle used to have community service inmates go out and work the roads, but hasn’t this year because of the risks of COVID, on the advice of the state Department of Corrections.

Allan Curtis, the county’s new solid waste coordinator, said there will be a countywide cleanup May 20-27. The county will pay groups $20 a mile and $5 a bag to collect trash along roads and streets.

The money comes from a state litter abatement program grant that the city and county get each year.

Gary Epperson, who was solid waste coordinator until last year, used to do the cleanup in March before the grass got tall and the mowers shredded and scattered the trash.

Epperson said that if everyone would just keep the greens pace along their own property clean, there wouldn’t be a litter problem.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at

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