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Offering nature a helping hand! Waxhaw girls form club to clean up the neighborhood

A group member picks up potato chip bag found in the woods behind Cureton. (Photo courtesy of Joyce Belfi)

(Used with permission from the Union County Weekly)

When 8-year-old Nora Hively went walking in the woods near her parents’ house in Waxhaw, she kept finding pieces of trash, just tossed aside. Some kids would go find another place to play, but Nora and her three friends decided to do something about it, creating a club dedicated to cleaning up the environment.

“I saw a lot of trash around the neighborhood and I didn’t think that was right for our world to be treated that way,” Hively said. “I just want our Earth to be clean, so we can have a better home.”

Hively went around her neighborhood of Cureton and put together a group consisting of her friends to start cleaning up the place. Six-year-old Veena Rachakonda joined, as did eight-year-old Jules Frances Belfi and her younger sister, five-year-old Amelia Grace Belfi.

“They came and asked us if we wanted to join a club about nature and I said sure, I’m in,” Jules Belfi said.
Giving themselves the title of the Super Nature Helpers, the girls put together everything from a group pledge to an attendance sheet, keeping a record of who showed up for their weekly sessions and how much trash was collected.

“We started with a pledge to our planet,” Veena Rachakonda said. “(In the pledge), we just wanted to talk about what we were going to do, it’s what we wanted to do for the Earth.”

The first Saturday in August when the group assembled, they went out and picked up 18.4 pounds of trash from around Cureton, as carefully noted in their journal.

“We picked up trash in the woods, we also went over to a field and found a lot of things,” Hively said. “We do it every Saturday now, unless we have something going on with our families.”

There’s some debate over the coolest or the grossest thing the girls have found during their treks throughout the neighborhood. Hively said the group had found a jacket and some gloves, while Rachakonda thought finding a painter’s rolling brush was pretty cool. Jules Belfi meanwhile walked away with a coupon.

“It was clean so I didn’t throw it away,” Belfi said. “We’ve still got it. That’s what’s fun about picking up. You can get free stuff.”

The girls all agreed that the grossest thing they found was an empty potato chips bag, left behind in the woods.
“We find a lot of our stuff in the woods, mostly,” Jules Belfi said.

The girls’ parents said they’re proud and impressed that the kids, all of which are in elementary school, would not just come up with an idea like this, but follow through with it every week.

“I thought it was really cute and such a sweet thing they’re doing,” Joyce Belfi said. “Just for all of them, it’s really good.

Each of the families practice recycling and other Earth friendly habits at home, the parents said, but the were impressed how the kids put it into practice.

“Everybody is just really enthusiastic about the club,” Amy Hively said. “It’s really great to see all of them get involved like this.”

Written by: Brian Carlton, Writer for the Union County Weekly
Posted: Sep 19, 2011 by Don Mace

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