Dave Crawford believes everyone can play a part in cleaning up the environment.
“I think keeping the environment clean is something everybody can do,” he said.
The treasurer of the Rotary Club of Mansfield practices what he preaches, both around his neighborhood, and with projects organized by the Rotary (which he’s been a member of for 43 years).
Every few weeks he takes his dog on a walk around his house just south of Lucas, picking up trash littered along the roads. Their typical route stretches a little over a mile.
“The amount of trash that people throw out of their cars into the ditches is just disgusting,” he said. “Don’t do that. Take it home and put it in your garbage. Recycle your aluminum cans.”
Crawford also rallies rotarians for the biannual stream cleanup project, hosted by the City of Mansfield.
“The Rotary has adopted this program when we began it back in 2004, and members have faithfully donned their water boots and helped clean up the streams of litter and debris,” said Kim Hildreth, program coordinator for the city’s engineering department.
Crawford said the Rotary is always looking for what he described as “sweat equity projects.”
“We certainly make contributions to a number of different things around the community, but we also like to have some projects that we can actually get out and do things,” he said.
Twice yearly, club members remove litter from public streams. Locations have included John Todd Park, North Lake Park, Middle Park, South Park, North Main Street (by the old Ohio Brass Building), Fox Glenn Park and the stream behind the YMCA.
“The first time we did each of them they were really bad, but now we’re getting back to each one within a couple of years and it’s not that bad,” Crawford said. “We’ve gotten the worst out of it so it doesn’t get the chance to build up.”
At one location they stumbled upon an illegal dumping site. “People were dumping chunks of concrete over the side of a gully into the stream,” Crawford said.
Generally it takes them a couple hours to perform the cleanup. Crawford said the project usually attracts other volunteers outside of the Rotary, too.
“It doesn’t take a lot of people. Sometimes for some of the stream cleanups we get more volunteers that we’re not quite sure what to do with them all,” he said with a laugh.
The stream cleanup project is just one of the many ways the Rotary is able to give back to the community.
The next cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, June 22 starting at 9 a.m. The location has not yet been determined. More information on the cleanup will be released by the city at a later date.
“I think we recognize the threats there are to the environment and this is one little step to help clean that up,” Crawford said.
Mansfield rotarians also clean up a portion of Ohio 13, removing litter scattered along the highway three to four times a year. This project started last year, Crawford said.
“We do like environmental-related projects,” Crawford said.
This Arbor Day, the club is planning on planting six trees in Central Park in downtown Mansfield, with two on the north side and four on the south side, according to Scott Young, president-elect for the Rotary Club of Mansfield.
Young knows from personal experience quite a bit about tree-planting as the owner of a tree farm in Bellville. The farm, which has been in his family since the late 1960s, consists of thousands upon thousands of trees.
Rotary International President-elect Ian H.S. Riseley challenged every Rotary club to make a difference by planting a tree for each of its members.
The Mansfield Rotary is up for the challenge and has other tree-planting projects in mind, eyeing the new walking path along Trimble Road as a potential site.
“I took advantage of the Clear Fork FFA tree sapling sales and picked up 80 trees,” Young said. He said he got a combination of flowering dogwood, red oak, tulip poplar and some evergreens.
“We still need to identify where to put them exactly. We’re not sure if it will be the Trimble corridor or down closer to North Lake Park and some areas in through there,” Young said.
He said the Rotary has a “pretty major project” in the city in the works for the club’s 100th anniversary in 2020.