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Keeping Sparks beautiful
by Andrea Tyrell
Nov 01, 2013 | 1126 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Volunteers planted trees at the Sparks Marina during last year's Make a Difference Day sponsored by Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful. The tree were provided by the Yellow Pages.
Volunteers planted trees at the Sparks Marina during last year's Make a Difference Day sponsored by Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful. The tree were provided by the Yellow Pages.
On Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, the Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB) staff and community volunteers will be cleaning up area parks for Make a Difference Day. From weeding to painting, planting bulbs to picking up trash, Sparks residents can volunteer their time at the Sparks Marina, Golden Eagle Park or the Lazy Five Regional Park.

"Make a Difference Day is our largest volunteer event of the year," said J. Merriman, KTMB's communication manager.

Along with the national organization, Keep America Beautiful, a group that promotes community improvement, KTMB received a grant from Lowe's in the Legend's at the Sparks Marina.

"We received a $4,500 grant from Lowe's," said Merriman. "We spent most of the money on tools and supplies. We asked the local parks what they need and this is what they asked for."

Those looking to volunteer can sign up on the KTMB website. Volunteers should wear comfortable clothes and shoes that they can get dirty. They should also bring work gloves and tools like spades, rakes and shovels.

"The marina is still fairly new but it needs some sprucing up," said Merriman. "Volunteers will do a lot of things, such as clearing russian thistle, the plant tumble weeds are made of. It's an invasive species."

Volunteers at the marina will also plant trees and repair a fence that was damaged in a car accident.

Trees are provided by the Yellow Pages in conjunction with their phone book recycling program. The Yellow Pages donated one tree for each phone book recycled in the program.

Merriman explains that Make a Difference Day is an event for all ages.

"This is such a great family event," she said. "There are several families that come out and have fun. They participate. There are jobs for all."

"The community should pitch in to preserve the resources that we have," said Sparks resident and KTMB volunteer John McHenry. Last year, he and his family, along with other volunteers, planted 15 trees in Hidden Valley Regional Park for Make a Difference Day. Although he is unable to volunteer this year, his wife plans to spend her time at the marina, helping with their granddaughter, Katie, a senior at Spanish Springs High School.

"Gather your friends and family together," said McHenry. "We all enjoy and cherish the marina. We should do all that we can to keep it clean and looking beautiful."

Beginning Dec. 26, KTMB will be recycling christmas trees. The public can bring out their old christmas tree to a KTMB designated area, where the trees will be turned into mulch for local parks.

"We recycled 10,000 trees last year," said Merriman.

The last day to recycle Christmas trees is Jan. 12, 2014.

In 2014, KTMB celebrates its 25th anniversary, a silver celebration where it will host 25 community events over the course of the year. The group encourages everyone in the Truckee meadows to donate a portion of their time in order to the preserve the northern Nevada landscape.

"We have a great community; it's great for families and tourists," said Merriman. "Look at cities like Chicago and New York City," said Merriman. "Yes, we don't compare to them in size but right now they are trying to reverse the damage they did to their rivers and water systems. We are taking care of our water here and we need to continue to do so, in order for to provide things like clean drinking water."

Merriman also wants the public to understand that keeping the Truckee Meadows tidy also ties in with the local economy.

"When the community is clean and looking nice, we keep businesses and attract new business," she said. "These parks, the river, the open spaces belong to all of us. We need to take ownership."

For more information about Make a Difference Day and more Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful events, visit
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