Members of the Green Team, Pat Stifter, Tara Rosenwinkeo, Gareth Blakesley, Lake Katherine's Director & Chief Naturalist; and Beth Enriquez welcome volunteers for Palos Heights' Clean Up Day on April 13. (Photos by Kelly White)

Members of the Green Team, Pat Stifter, Tara Rosenwinkeo, Gareth Blakesley, Lake Katherine's Director & Chief Naturalist; and Beth Enriquez welcome volunteers for Palos Heights' Clean Up Day on April 13. (Photos by Kelly White)

Volunteers give Palos Heights a spring cleaning

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Green Team member, Abbie Schrotenboer and her son, Dominik, 7, were proud to be a part of the Palos Heights Clean Up Day on April 13.

By Kelly White

Palos Heights works hard to keep its city beautiful.

Gathering residents together for a day of cleaning and fun was the Palos Heights Green Team with a Clean Up Day on April 13.

“This event invited everyone in our community to do their part in combating pollution by having a fun morning collecting discarded debris and cleaning up Palos Heights,” Pat Stifter, of Palos Heights, and Green Team volunteer, said.

The mission of the Green Team, which was established in 2022, is to raise awareness and educate the community about environmental efforts that protect and restore the environment in the local community. The group meets once a month where members review upcoming Green Team events and discuss new projects.

The 2024 Clean Up Day was scheduled in April in conjunction with Earth Day, an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. The movement raises awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations.

The Green Team and more than 40 resident volunteers met at Palos Heights City Hall, 7607 W. College Dr., bright and early on Saturday morning.

There were not any set requirements and anyone was welcome to come out to volunteer to help clean up the city.

There was also no prior registration and all interested volunteers were able to meet at Palos Heights City Hall at for registration and to pick up bags, gloves, reflective vests, garbage pick-up tools and reflective vests, especially for those working alongside main busy streets and intersections in Palos Heights.

After that, all volunteers were divided up to pick up debris throughout the city in designated groups to collect garbage ranging from discarded paper items, plastic, cans, bottles, wrappers, cups, hubcaps and more.

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Terry and Suzanna Graal, of Palos Heights, and Kathy Kobak, of Palos Heights, volunteered to be a part of the Green Team’s Palos Heights Clean Up Day on April 13.

This year’s focus was along Route 83 east of Harlem, the Cal Sag bike trail east of Harlem to Ridgeland and 127th St and Harlem.

“I like that we start and finish an entire clean-up operation that day,” Stifter said. “We all start the day with empty bags and fill a bunch within two hours. The Clean Up Day offers immediate gratification.”

During the clean-up endeavor, the Green Team was also responsive to areas brought to their attention by residents, including by the Palos Heights pool area and around the baseball and softball fields.

“Keeping Palos Heights free of garbage both keeps the community sustainably beautiful today but helps to ensure that it will be a beautiful, environmentally friendly community for future generations too,” Stifter said.

Residents and volunteers agreed.

“I love that this is a volunteer effort,” Kathy Kobak, of Palos Heights, said. “We should all be wanting to help each other and work together to keep our community beautiful.”

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Gathering residents together for a day of cleaning and fun was the Palos Heights Green Team with a Clean Up Day on April 13.

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