SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Saturday, April 3, was the first day for Clean Green Springfield , the city’s community-wide clean-up and beautification efforts. Volunteers went out to pick up trash around Springfield in hopes of making Springfield the cleanest city in the state of Missouri.

“This is the first day of our clean green cleanup and we’re starting that, I think excellently,” said Ken McClure, mayor of Springfield.

Clean Green Springfield is an initiative to help pick up the trash and garbage that’s accumulated throughout the pandemic.

“We’ve all been impacted by the pandemic and the fact that we had to stay home,” said McClure. “So, normal cleanup programs did not happen the way they normally would.”

Volunteers of all ages came out to help clean up West Medows and Midtown Neighborhood.

“It kind of feels good, you know,” said Carrie Nesbitt, a volunteer. “It makes me happy that I’m helping out.”

“It was pretty fun; it was just like a treasure hunt for trash, in the end,” said Morgan Hooten.

“It speaks so well of our community,” said McClure. “We know we are a community of volunteers. We know the people will step up when they see a need. And we have a need now after 12 months of a pandemic and trash that’s been allowed to accumulate. It’s time to clean it up.”

On the first day of clean-up, volunteers noticed more signs of a pandemic in the trash.

“We’ve noticed there’s a lot of masks laying around everywhere,” said Nesbitt.

“We clean a lot of stuff like what the homeless have, like quilts and stuff, and then we clean up a whole bunch of plastic stuff like bottles that can be recycled,” said Hooten.

Some volunteers already have ideas for how to prevent a build-up like this in the future.

“I think they could use some trash cans along this trail, definitely, and someone to come and empty those on a daily basis,” said Nesbitt. “A lot of stuff we cleaned up down by the creek was a homeless camp, a lot of blankets, clothing, things like that. I think you need to have several more cleanups per year to get those taken care of as well.”

“There’s a lot of pride in this community and we’re seeing that displayed today,” said McClure. “Once we get this cleaned up, then it’s incumbent upon all of us to make sure that we keep it clean.

The next Clean Green Springfield events are happening on April 10 and April 17.

Click here to see the full schedule or to register for the upcoming events.