top of page
  • Writer's pictureOur Shared Waters

Staff Offers Cleanup Tips

This article was originally published on The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Check out the original article for photos.

In December, the Academy of Natural Sciences and United By Blue announced a community partnership with a goal to remove 25,000 pounds of trash from the Delaware River.

Throughout the winter, our staff coordinated with UBB, a Philadelphia-based clothier dedicated to sustainable materials and ethical manufacturing, to invite Academy staff and Members and community members to join us in cleanup events throughout our region this spring.

Then, as we are all aware, the spread of COVID-19 derailed events nationwide.

When United By Blue sent DIY cleanup tips to Academy staff, some employees gathered their families and explored their neighborhoods armed with gloves, masks and garbage bags. We’ve gathered a few of these stories to encourage other people to join us. Read on for handy tips to help you embark on your own cleanup.

Jennifer Sontchi, Academy senior director of exhibits and public spaces, went on a 45-minute walk with her husband, 11-year-old son and brand-new telescopic trash picker! They removed five gallons of trash from their neighborhood storm drains. Without their help, this trash would have washed away into our local waterways.

Leigh Lightner, Academy school programs developer, her parents and other family members removed trash and storm debris from a creek that runs through their property in Delaware County. Their efforts, closely adhering to social distancing, helped restore the clean, naturally flowing creek.

Katie Marquardt, Academy manager of membership and appeals, explored the Wissahickon neighborhood streets with her 5-year-old daughter Aurora. She found that setting clear and easily followed rules for young ones is important. For instance, if children see glass or sharp objects on the ground, they should never touch and instead instruct their accompanying adults to dispose of the garbage. While following trails in the Wissahickon Valley Park, only adults could pick up trash located off the beaten paths.

Ready for your own excursion? These tips provided by the Academy and our partners at United By Blue will help!


  • Gloves*

  • Mask*

  • Close-toe shoes*

  • Trash bags (we recommend one for trash and one for recycling)

  • Sunglasses

*These items are considered a requirement to participate safely

How To Safely Participate

  1. Be sure you are aware of and follow your local COVID-19 guidelines.

  2. Gather your quarantine partners and supplies listed above.

  3. Always stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who doesn’t live in your household.

  4. Head to a local park or waterway in need of a cleanup – even your backyard or neighborhood sidewalks will do! Every piece of trash collected is trash that will not make it into our waterways.

  5. Put on your gloves, walk around and keep an eye out for trash. Only pick up trash if you are wearing your gloves. Do not touch your face while cleaning.

  6. When the area is clean, dispose of your collected trash and recycling responsibly in your home receptacles.

  7. Immediately throw your gloves into the washer, wash your hands and disinfect any surfaces you may have touched while wearing the gloves, such as doorknobs.

  8. Give yourself a pat on the back. You just helped make the world a cleaner place!

By Katie Marquardt, Manager of Membership and Appeals, with contributions by Leigh Lightner and Jennifer Sontchi.


bottom of page