Commentary: Volunteers remove 97 bags of trash from public areas

Levi Rubio participates in Cordova Cleanup Week. Photo courtesy of Kristi Rubio

Cordova Cleanup Day has always been an important annual event for our community. It is a chance to show our pride for Cordova and help keep it a beautiful place to live and visit while working to protect our incredible ecosystem. This year was no different, even though it looked a little different. Cordova Cleanup Day was launched as Cordova Cleanup Week, a team-based competition with both team and individual prizes.

The week was no doubt a success. The week-long event allowed teams to participate at their own pace, additionally creating the opportunity for more people to participate who normally wouldn’t have been available for the one-day event. As Cordova begins to relax restrictions, hosting a week-long event meant teams could choose to venture out together or separately depending on their comfort levels. The Copper River Watershed Project worked hard to create an online reporting system and a leaderboard that showed which teams were in the lead, as well as how many bags of trash were reported as picked up. Throughout the week, the leaders changed many times and teams who lost their leads went back out there to try and regain them. The competition was fierce, but also friendly. At one-point teams CGC Fir and Cordova Adventure Cats ran into each other. Instead of competing, they joined together as a united team.

Cordova Cleanup Week saw over 100 people register into the competition, with 15 teams working hard to collectively remove 97 bags of trash from Cordova’s public areas! These passionate Cordovans weren’t swayed by the heavy rains the first few days of the week brought. On the first day of Cleanup Week teams were sharing photos of smiling Cordovans donning rain gear, carrying their big yellow bags, and wearing huge smiles across their faces. Of course, we know there were many more people who participated who were not officially registered, and we appreciate their quiet contributions. You can see more photos and hear from those who participated on Facebook by joining the Cordova Cleanup Week Group at cdv.tiny.us/cleanup.

Another impressive success during Cleanup Week was the number of Cordova’s kids eagerly picking up trash. Of the over 100 event registrants, 42 of them were kids. These kids braved the weather and filled giant bags of trash with great enthusiasm. AC Value Center was so impressed by our youth that they donated gift cards so our youth efforts could be recognized with their own drawing outside of the regular prizes, which included gift certificates from Baja Taco, Harborside Pizza, The Powder House, The Reluctant Fisherman, The Whale’s Tale at Orca, The Little Cordova Bakery, The Jump, Kayak Cafe, Laura’s Liquor, and How Brewed. Winners of this year’s prizes will be announced on the Cordova Chamber of Commerce Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/CordovaChamber.

Cordova Cleanup Day is jointly organized by the Cordova Chamber of Commerce, a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization, and Copper River Watershed Project, along with a committee of representatives from the City of Cordova, Native Village of Eyak, Chugach National Forest – Cordova Ranger District, and local citizens. The purpose and goal of this committee is to offer an annual spring cleanup effort with full community participation that hopefully leads to a cleaner Cordova year-round. For information on volunteering or donating to Cordova Cleanup Week 2022, contact the Cordova Chamber of Commerce by phone at 907-424-7260 or by email at info@cordovachamber.com.

Christi Banks is communications and events coordinator for the Cordova Chamber of Commerce.