This past Sunday was the first workshop/activity that the class participated in with members of the community. We met at 10am, split up into pairs and tackled different parts of the park. With the various levels of the park, my group partner and I found that most of the trash that we were attempting to collect was located on steep hills or hidden in bushes. There were many instances when I started sliding down the dirt hill trying to grab a beer bottle or a cigarette pack.
I also noticed that the parking lot harbored a massive amount of trash. I wondered if maybe a first step in maintaining the cleanliness of the park would be to establish permanent trash cans all throughout the park. It could potentially decrease the amount of litter significantly.
If an area is more clean, more aesthetically pleasing, more community members will assemble there. After the potluck, we were able to talk with some of the current community members about some of the activities and events they hold at the park too. I was particularly interested in the Thursday night dinners that would be hosted there during the summer. Nothing brings people together like food does.
Finally, an unfortunate component of the day was the ever-present worry about finding a syringe or a needle. While we all know that drugs are an issue in any city, it can be discouraging to know that public community areas harbor these activities. I hope that this topic can be addressed in a rehabilitative and careful way moving forward.