How to Plan a Great Earth Day!


How to Plan a Park Clean Up!

Before the event!

  1. Recruit volunteers

Take to social media to stress the importance of clean parks to your network, highlight areas of your park that need a little TLC, or find resources from NRPA to show the value of parks.

Don't neglect your IRL promotion spaces like coffee shops and grocery stores, and reach out to your neighborhood newsletter.

2. Figure out where the trash is going to go

Reach out to whoever is responsible for solid waste removal in your park. This could be the city, or possibly a private company depending on where you live. Make sure you are able to provide trashbags to volunteers on site.

3.Keep Everyone Safe

Encourage people to bring work gloves, and have some that you can give out to volunteers who don’t have their own. Make sure there is water available on site, either from fountains or a cooler. If the park has a stream, make sure some volunteers are equipped with proper boots, and that conditions in the stream are safe.

And always have a first aid kit on hand!

4. Be prepared for all types of clean up

Consider providing rakes and push brooms for cleaning up twigs or fallen leaves. You may even want to bring tree trimmers- but be sure to check with the city before cutting any branches.

On the Day!

  1. Be ready to greet people and give them a job to do

Letting people mill around can be uncomfortable and make you seem disorganized. Harness their enthusiasm right away.

2. Put people in pairs or small groups, especially in large parks

This is a great way for neighbors to get to know each other, to cover more ground and stay around longer.

3. Make it social and fun!

Have refreshment available for a break time or for the end of the clean up; for a cold day, consider offering hot drinks like coffee or apple cider. Have a competition for strangest item found or most trash collected, or for most surprising animal found. Encourage people to take and post photos.

4. Use the opportunity to educate and encourage people

A park clean up is a group of committed citizens who may value some other aspect of your organization’s outlook. Maybe you’re raising awareness of a need for inclusive equipment in your parks, or you want to encourage people to participate in other civic organizations. A concise speech after dropping off your clean up haul or ongoing conversations during the event might be a great way to engage people who are interested in other ways to work in their communities.

5. Be positive and encouraging

If either the amount of neglect or the size of the park means you leave it less than spotless, focus on the work completed, not the work left undone. Over a few hours you’ve done a lot to improve your community, even if you haven’t completed everything you’d hoped to. Make sure to thank all of your volunteers.


Make sure to post your photos to social media so that people who considered coming are more likely to respond to another event in the future, and the people who did come feel appreciated. Set expectations for an upcoming event, even if you don’t have all the details figured out yet.

Good luck planning a clean up event that can hopefully become a longstanding tradition!