Updated: Monday, 12 Apr 2010, 10:51 AM CDT
Published : Saturday, 10 Apr 2010, 11:27 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - It was the usual bustle of activity at Pease Park Saturday morning - the sunbathing, running, disc golfing and cycling with the family.
And even with all the hustle and bustle at the park, dozens of volunteers got right down to business in the middle of it all to spruce up the Central Austin park . It's a small picture of the grander, citywide effort of 4,338 volunteers participating in Keep Austin Beautiful Clean Sweep.
"Load, dump, repeat. That's kind of the order of the day here," said Richard Craig, with Friends of Pease Park .
In an assembly line-type of order, volunteers filled their wheelbarrows with mulch, rolled them down to their dumping ground and emptied the load. Then, it was back to the loading mound to refill their wheelbarrows to do it all over again.
Craig said the relayering of the mulch - also mixed in with Dillo Dirt - helps aerate the land and provides the moisture and nutrients needed to promote tree growth. The layers of the mixture also prevent weeds from resurfacing around the trees.
All a part of the 25th Annual Keep Austin Beautiful Clean Sweep at 128 sites throughout the city, people also picked up trash and even sifted through Shoal Creek's waters.
"[It's] a family day out," said volunteer Jim Crooks. "If you're doing something worthwhile, this is just perfect, you know. It's really been fun."
Crooks' 10-year-old daughter Ellie fearlessly took control of the creek, removing her socks and shoes to jump right into the creek - even if it was to take a break from the cleanup to cool off. Ellie found a waterlogged tennis ball along the way, in addition to some other murky items.
"We found, like, this huge, big plate," said Ellie. "We don't know what it was, but it was like metal."
Meanwhile, Noah Barnes and Roberto Hernandez - both 10 years old - sifted through seemingly every blade of grass with aunt Kristie Naylor to find cigarette butts and other odd items along the way, including what looked like an old sweater.
"We really like planet Earth," said Noah. "Because that's where we live, and that's where most of our water and food comes from."
Even though Noah had a little setback at the beginning of his cleanup adventure, he didn't let that get in the way.
"I was not expecting to lose my tooth," said Noah, after losing it while biting into a doughnut. "I didn't know a doughnut was that powerful!"
"The children are part of our future, so we have to teach them what we do as an adult so they learn it as children and will teach their children," said Naylor. "Picking up trash and litter from our environment helps Keep Austin Beautiful, and that's part of what we did today, just to keep it pretty."
Crooks said this won't be his last volunteer effort to keep Austin beautiful.
"We'll definitely do it in other parks as well, but we'll probably come back here and do it again because we've had a great time."
As one of Austin's oldest parks, Craig said it's seen some tough times and hopes people continue to pitch in to help restore it.
"Austin prides itself on being a green city, but we can't really just rely on our reputation," said Craig. "We have to reinvest on it every generation."