Countdown To Earth Day: Talking Trash (And What To Do About It) With The Forest Preserve District of Kane County

Countdown To Earth Day: Talking Trash (And What To Do About It) With The Forest Preserve District of Kane County

  • The Kane County Board Energy And Environmental Committee, Kane County Division of Environmental and Water Resources and Kane County Connects are teaming up for a “Countdown to Earth Day” series celebrating the success stories and spotlighting the environmental challenges we face right here, right now in Kane County, IL. Today’s article is written by Forest Preserve District of Kane County Community Affairs Director Laurie Metanchuk.

Forest Preserve District staff and volunteers collected this much trash in just a few hours of clean-up at the district-owned wetlands just north of the Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora, at Farnsworth and Bilter. Pictured left to right are Environmental Education Manager Barb McKittrick, Safety & Wellness Coordinator Chuck Misner, Volunteer Coordinator Robb Cleave and Communications & Marketing Coordinator Brittany Kovach. (Photo by Laurie Metanchuk.)

With Spring officially here, so is winter’s trash, and there’s a lot of it.

Most are relieved to know that winter’s finally over. Temperatures warm, trees begin to bud, and spring wildflowers bloom in the forest preserves. (Have you been to Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve in Elburn, lately? It’s spectacular, right now!)

Windblown trash makes its way into forest preserves and is revealed in spring. (Photo by Laurie Metanchuk.)

Unfortunately, spring is also the time of year when garbage that’s blown out of trash cans and trucks, or that’s been carelessly discarded, makes its way into natural areas. It literally blows into preserves and collects there.

It’s not that there’s more garbage in spring. It’s that winter’s snow previously covered up the evidence. Now, with the snow gone and more of us outdoors to see it, trash is seemingly everywhere.

While staff spends time daily cleaning up preserves and trails, with more than 22,000 acres, it’s a big job. That’s where you can help. Picking up trash is a great way to help the environment. Not only is trash unsightly, it can be harmful to wildlife. One person can truly have a big impact.

If you’re looking for a simple Earth Day project, a trash cleanup is perfect.

Grab some work gloves and trash bags and head out to your local forest preserve or trail. Pick up trash along your walk, and dispose of it in Forest Preserve District trash barrels or dumpsters. It’s easy to do on your own, with a friend or a small group — and every little bit makes a difference.

If you’re looking for more of a small group effort, the Forest Preserve District is planning those, too.

Join us from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, April 30, at Pingree Grove Forest Preserve (14N187 IL Route 20, Pingree Grove). Bring your mask and some work gloves. The Forest Preserve District will supply the trash bags if you supply the energy. Come fill one bag or a few. The district will also provide water and light snacks, afterward.

Watch our website at and social media for additional cleanup dates, times and locations.

There won’t be the traditional Earth Day tree planting as there has been in previous years, but you can do your part to beautify our Forest Preserves with a little, kindly clean-up.

Typically, in April, we would be writing about a big Earth Day tree-planting event. You’d see pictures with newly-planted trees, all over the Forest Preserve District’s social media pages, and those of others.

With the pandemic, now isn’t the time for a large-scale event. However, you can still celebrate Earth Day and do something positive for the environment. Head out to your local preserve or trail and pick up some trash.

Afterward, send us a selfie!

Take a photo with the garbage you’ve cleaned up from the Kane County forest preserves, and we’ll even highlight some of those photos on our social media pages. Be sure and tag the Forest Preserve District of Kane County and use the hashtag #kanetrashbagselfie.

Happy Earth Day, Kane County! We look forward to seeing you out in the preserves and on the trails, soon.

Read The Countdown To Earth Day Series