“Mother Earth isn’t ours, it’s ours to preserve for the next generations” – MCN Office of Environmental Services Director James Williams.
OKMULGEE, Okla. – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation gleamed a little brighter during Earth Week 2023 as the MCN Office of Environmental Services organized events aimed at cleaning up the environment and responsibly disposing of recyclable materials.
The week started on April 14 with the annual Community Clean Up Event where volunteers gathered to pick up trash along the highway. For those driving in Okmulgee along Loop 56, they may have spotted one of those volunteers in a bright, neon-yellow vest.
According to MCN Office of Environmental Services Director James Williams, that event saw around 36 volunteers that picked up somewhere between 800-900 pounds of trash. Afterward, the group gathered for a cookout and fellowship.
“We always eat,” Williams said. “We’re like a bunch of Methodists, every time we meet, we eat.”
On Wednesday, April 19 the department brought out a group of local third and fourth graders to tour the recycle center. The students played recycling games, then were shown how to plant their own gardens with raised flower beds. Promoting recycling at a young age can help children develop responsible disposal habits as they grow up.
MCN Environmental Specialist Kristy Lawson appeared on Mvskoke Radio to discuss her department’s mission to educate the community during Earth Week.
“That’s the biggest part is just educating the community,” Lawson said. “We’re a throw-away society. Once we put it in the trash can we don’t worry about it. We need to think about where these resources are going.”
The week continued on with the Free Document Shredding service the department hosts every year. The annual event took in items like tires, small appliances, electronics and car batteries. This service provided an easy way for community members to responsibly dispose of larger items that do not end up in landfills that negatively impact the environment.
Community members who may not have the ability to shred their paper documents with sensitive information were able to use the shredding truck on a first come, first served basis.
In addition to taking in larger recyclables, the department also took in more commonly recycled materials like cardboard, paper, plastic and metal cans.
Community Coming Together
While the purpose of Earth Week is to clean up the environment and spread awareness on these environmental issues, it has also sprouted another positive aspect: fellowship. According to Williams, the week has seen the same volunteers year after year. Just as well, the event has also seen repeat customers who donate their recyclables.
The fruits of Earth Week may seem small, but the ripple effects it can have across the community is invaluable. Williams said the event’s call to action is asking others to change their disposal habits, even for community members who have had the same disposal habits their entire lives. Anything the department is able to collect from the community will stay out of a landfill.
Williams said he and his team are extremely grateful for the community and their contributions to making Earth Week a success for the department. The forecast for the week’s festivities was cooperative as well, providing comfortable, sunny conditions with highs ranging from 70 degrees to 80 degrees.
“It’s been a good week, it’s always been good. This is one of our busier weeks for collections and recyclables.” Williams said. “It’s always a fun time for us. Everyone gets out of the office, it’s a pretty day, it’s just been good.”
If you would like to learn more about the annual Earth Week celebrations or services provided by the MCN Office of Environmental Services, you can follow them on social media at: facebook.com/MCNEnvironmentalServices.