Nebraska Nature Lovers’ Earth Day Message: ‘Pick Up Your Trash’
Published for Nebraska Public Media
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On Earth Day, Nebraska nature lovers have one message: pick up your trash.
On a recent morning after dropping off a neighbor’s daughter at school, Dave Horst went mushroom hunting in Heron Haven Nature Center in Omaha.
Instead of finding morel mushrooms, the 54-year-old Lyft driver picked up trash for an hour. He filled six bags with fast food cups, plastic containers, and one ounce alcohol bottles. He said the bottles were everywhere, not just in the woods.
"I wish more people cared. You know, it just seems like people throw out the garbage out the windows and it's just an afterthought. They don't think twice about it," he said. "It made me feel better picking it up. It helps out a little bit."
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Greg Wagner with Nebraska Game and Parks Commission said with more visitors at state parks, they’ve noticed an increased amount of trash too.
"Now it's wonderful that people are wanting to go outdoors to get out there to safely socially distance and enjoy what we have in our state parks, wildlife management areas, and other use areas," he said. "But we have noticed an increased amount of trash."
Wagner said people should pick up, recycle, or reuse, trash whenever they see it.
"I always have told people that Earth Day needs to be lived every day, when you're an outdoor enthusiast, in that you leave an area better than you found it," he said.
With spring arriving and everything in full bloom, Horst and Wagner encourage everyone to go outside and enjoy what Nebraska has to offer, but take your trash with you when you leave.