Winchester clean sweeps Main Street

Published 2:07 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2023

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As Earth Day approached, individuals around the country felt the need to make a difference.

On Thursday, many in Winchester took action towards that goal.

Dozens of individuals gathered to participate in the 10th Annual Main Street Clean Sweep to celebrate the 53rd Earth Day, with Earth Week from April 15-22.

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“The city of Winchester partners with Bluegrass Greensource, and we just pick a designated day once a year to clean up our community,” said Shanda Cecil, the Project Coordinator at Strode’s Creek Conservancy. “After the winter, there seems to be a lot of litter on the ground. We just work to pick up litter in our community.”

Bluegrass Greensource, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide environmental education, resources, and outreach, participates alongside numerous counties in central Kentucky.

Along with Clark, counties such as Montgomery, Lincoln, Garrard, Fayette, Anderson, Franklin, Madison, Mercer, Harrison, and Woodford participated in the effort.

Over time and while working in different locations, some littered items have become all too commonplace.

Fast food items, plastic bags, and cigarette butts are some of the most commonly found examples.

Yet, says Bluegrass Greensource Education Director Pattie Stivender, the community working together makes a strong difference.

“At Bluegrass Greensource, we say ‘Small changes, big impact,’ and we truly do believe that,” Stivender said. “If we just had one person out here picking up litter, we may not see an impact from that. The fact that we have so many people from the community come to pick up litter within this whole downtown area [means] we will see a big difference.”

In groups, civilians took different routes to pick up what was on the ground.

While some went along Church Alley and Maple Street and groups covered both the south and north side of Broadway Street, others participated at Hickman Street, Main Street, Lexington Avenue, and more.

Seth Boyken, who also owns and operates The Backcountry Baking Company, was a member of one group that participated in the cleanup.

“We’re just looking to make progress here in downtown. Especially on Earth Day, you can’t go wrong,” Boyken said. “I don’t spend a lot of time downtown, so it is rewarding to see the other side of Winchester. It was a really nice turnout…I think there [were] at least fifty folks.”

Explaining the value of picking up litter even further, Cecil – who also works as a Stormwater Coordinator – went into detail.

“Litter is not only an eyesore, but it’s also a direct detriment to our streams,” Cecil said. “The litter that makes its way to our streams in Winchester go through all the watersheds and can end up all the way to the Mississippi River. Our water quality is just too important, and we’ve got to start doing a better job of keeping litter out of our waterways.”

As such, taking continual action is encouraged.

“Every Day is Earth Day,” Cecil added. “If you’re not doing something environmentally conscious, pick one thing [such as] recycling your aluminum cans or reusing a cup…there are a multitude of things that we can do.”