Cleaning up Wildcat Creek
Written by: Mikayla Martin
In one of our most successful creek cleanups to date, KIDS for the BAY celebrated the 28th annual Wildcat Creek Cleanup event on October 8th, 2022 in collaboration with the City of San Pablo and local schools. With a record head count of 55 volunteers, we collected 42 bags of trash, equal to 1,890 gallons of trash, and seven bags of recycling materials.
On a sunny day in San Pablo, school students brought family and friends to join their peers for an action packed cleanup at Wildcat Creek in Davis Park. KIDS for the BAY staff Yvette Diaz Samayoa, Mikayla Martin, and Executive Director Mandi Billinge joined the City of San Pablo’s Environmental Program Analyst, Karineh Samkian, along with maintenance staff members to help host this special cleanup event. As volunteers arrived, Yvette explained the creek cleanup safety rules and the waste sorting and disposal methods. She also shared an important message about practicing the Five Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, Refuse) to inspire everyone to reduce trash and waste at the source. Volunteers eagerly grabbed the different colored bags to help separate the landfill items from the recycling, and they were on their way down into the creek!
The event included many community volunteers who cared about Wildcat Creek. Dover Elementary School leadership teacher Mr. Maclean attended with twenty five of his students. “These students are the leaders of our school,” he said. “They are on the school council leadership team and they all want to help clean up the creek and help our local environment!” Students and teachers from nearby St. Paul School also enthusiastically helped out at the creek cleanup. Neighbor Ligia Votaho, who has been living near Davis Park for six years, shared that she hasn’t had time to get to know her community very well. When she heard about the creek cleanup, she thought it would be the perfect time to go out and do good in her neighborhood! A volunteer named Eugene Chin brought his whole family to help. They reported finding a broken TV on the other side of the park and were determined to bring it over to the trash pile to make sure it was not forgotten. As they were leaving, his wife Michele said, “Thank you so much for having this event! It was great to be a part of it!” Even high school students from Bishop O’Dowd’s Green Team in Oakland were eager to group together and do their part in the Wildcat Creek Cleanup.
There was a great sense of urgency among all the volunteers to keep their community clean, and everyone worked very hard to find as much trash as they could. One family filled up three 45 gallon bags within 30 minutes! Determined environmentalists found a variety of trash items in all areas of the creek, and pulled out two mattress box springs, a lawnmower, a bicycle frame, and several sports balls. A Dover Elementary student collected at least six baseballs that he was excited to reuse and take home to practice with.
The Wildcat Creek Cleanup was a great success this year! The San Pablo community took great pride in keeping their creek clean. To give back to all the hard working volunteers the City of San Pablo provided a variety of prizes including coloring books, reusable water bottles and cutlery, as well as reusable straws and pencils made from recycled paper currency. KIDS for the BAY and the City of San Pablo were thrilled to see all the trash cleaned up from the creek, and how the community came together to do good for their city. Karineh shared, “I think this is one of the highest numbers of dedicated volunteers we have ever had!”