National volunteer event to clean up Washoe County parks


Russian thistle makes a spiky, invasive tangle  and must be removed. / Courtesy photo

J. Merriman, communications manager for Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful communications manager, said, “Russian thistle makes a spiky, invasive tangle and must be removed.” / Courtesy photo

After the guilt of the Halloween candy binge sinks in, you can get outside, get your legs moving and help to clean up your community with Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful for Make a Difference Day on Nov. 2.

For the rest of the country, Make A Difference Day is held on Oct. 25, but Nevada Day falls on that date this year, KTMB is postponing the event until the next weekend. It will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at 16 different Washoe County parks, making this the largest Make a Difference Day event.

“It’s almost as big as the River Cleanup or the Great Community Cleanup this year,” KTMB communications manager J. Merriman said. “Volunteers will be doing everything from planting bulbs in some parks and repairing flower beds and things like that to painting buildings and equipment.”

In the past, KTMB volunteers planted trees obtained through Yellow Pages’s (YP) “Phone Books for Trees” program. YP donated an average of 17 trees per ton of phone books recycled at City of Reno, City of Sparks and Washoe County drop-off locations. This program has been phased out because phone books can now be recycled curbside. As a result, KTMB has changed Make A Difference Day so that volunteers work on whatever projects the parks need.

Merriman said KTMB has about five hundred volunteers signed up but are still looking for more. Each site requires a different amount of volunteers, so people are encouraged to sign up early.

“Making sure that our community is clean is really important not only to our health but to the health of all the plants, animals, people – everybody who lives here,” Merriman said. “It’s also really important to our economic health.”

Merriman said that KTMB is holding this event in order to help the community thrive. Clean parks are a great place to start in order to get people to want to visit here and live here.

“The way the Truckee Meadows is set up, we have opportunities for every kind of recreation you can think of, but we definitely have to take care of it,” Merriman said. “It is up to us to keep it clean in order to attract [more] people.”

To see where the larger projects are happening and which parks still need volunteers, visit KTMB’s volunteer sign up page online.