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Volunteers clean up trash in Omaha parks as part of Earth Day celebration

Posted at 3:13 PM, Apr 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 23:48:19-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In Omaha there are over 250 park spaces where neighbors gather. On Earth Day, one volunteer group cleaned up over 200 pounds of trash in two parks, but Omaha Parks says the work doesn't stop there.

  • Omaha parks that need the most help are some of the most popular parks, including Lake Zorinksy, Benson Park, Lee Valley Park, N.P Dodge Park, Hummel Park and Hefflinger Park.
  • Whether a park looks clean or not, Omaha Parks says trash can hide under trees, in waterways and other hard-to-see places. Litter can affect water quality and wildlife in the surrounding areas.
  • If your interested in hosting a cleanup, you can visit Omaha Parks volunteeropportunities here.


In Omaha alone there are over 250 park spaces where neighbors gather for picnics, go on walks and play. At Ta-Ha-Zouka Park, volunteers are giving this place some much needed love on this Earth Day.

"Easter was recent so there's lots of little red candy wrappers,” said Kelli Sparks, a volunteer with Fusion Healthcare.

This park may look clean on the outside but take a closer look and you'll see trash hiding under trees, in the creek and tangled in odd spots.

"So, we found some cardboard, lots of bottles, cans, a lot of cigarette butts," said Richard Medina, a volunteer with Fusion Healthcare.

So, while litter might not be as visible here, Omaha Parks says it still affects the water quality and wildlife in the surrounding area.

"It’s near a road, there's always going to be trash that blows in inadvertently and were also near a recycling center and accidents happen,” said Steve Levy, the Coordinator of Volunteers with the City of Omaha Parks and Recreation.

“But because we're so close to a waterway and places where children play, that makes it even more important that we take care of it and clean it up."

Maintaining the parks' integrity comes with the help of volunteers.

Members of Fusion Healthcare cleaned up over 200 pounds of trash here and at Carter Lake Park.

"I actually was a little bit surprised by the amount of trash that I've found here,” said Sparks.

But the work doesn't stop there: as some Omaha parks need a little more help than others when it comes it litter.

"Lake Zorinsky, Benson Park, Lee Valley, NP Dodge Park. Just parks that are very popular that have lots of people going to them. Hummel Park, Hefflinger Park — they have lots of areas where people picnic and whenever there's people gathering for food and celebrations and things like that then there's bound to be trash no matter how careful they are," said Levy.

Omaha Parks says keeping parks tidy is half the battle because they've observed that people will help clean spaces to stay clean and allow dirty spaces to stay dirty.

"So just a little bit of upfront effort goes a long way towards keeping our parks looking the way they do," said Levy.

Taking care of our planet doesn't just stop after one day though, if you're interested in hosting a cleanup, you can visit Omaha parks volunteer opportunities here.