Woman Starts Neighborhood Cleanup Crew, Encourages Others To Do The Same In Their Communities

Bernie Tafoya
January 08, 2019 - 12:47 pm

Photo courtesy of Kathy McClellan


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A conservation-minded northwest suburban woman has decided to do her small part in making her community a nicer looking place and hopes others start their own clean-up crusades in their own neighborhoods.

Kathy McClellan of Bartlett said she has long picked up garbage while taking her pitbull, Nala, for walks. 

In late December, she decided to try to get others to join her in picking up trash along, what she calls, a "no-man's-land" on North Avenue west of Lake Street in Streamwood.

Over three times out since then--just a couple of hours at a time--McClellan said she and about eight others have picked up 25 bags of recyclables and 8 bags of garbage. That does not include several car tires, a pallet, a dishwasher rack and even a bag of grout that got wet and hardened.

She said she and the volunteers carted the bags of trash and recyclables to their own homes to put them in garbage and recycle containers.  She said the village of Streamwood agreed to pick up the large items. 

It's not just adults who are taking part in McClellan's effort.

"We recruited another neighborhood boy. He’s in 7th grade," she said.

Photo courtesy of Kathy McClellan

McClellan shakes her head when thinking about people who dump their trash in public.

"Who does that? Who puts a dishwasher rack in the woods. Some of this stuff in this area, a wallet, an old pencil sharpener," she said.

She encourages others to do the same thing in their own communities. 

Photo courtesy of Kathy McClellan

"We have so much fun doing this. So, it’s like a scavenger hunt. What’s the weirdest thing you can find?

"You go out there, you get some exercise, you get to interact with people and it really makes the place look a lot nicer," McClellan said. 

And others like it, too. She said she and her group have received plenty of honks from motorists as well as "thumbs-up" signs.