Whether it was dropped by humans or brought there by natural forces, there was plenty of garbage to be found in the Tackapausha Preserve last Saturday morning. A group of volunteers spent hours on Aug. 16 cleaning up the park, which straddles the Seaford-Massapequa border.
Getting their hands dirty at the county park were several Scouts from Wantagh and Seaford, who have been taught from an early age about respecting the environment. “This is a good idea to show them this is our community and we’ve got to take care of it,” said Peter Tietz, a den leader of Seaford Cub Scout Pack 581.
Tietz, his wife, Lauren, and John Downey led four boys through the southern end of the park, near the museum. The Scouts, Luke Frank, John Downey and brothers Peter and Joseph Tietz, put on rubber gloves and placed garbage in the plastic bags they toted along.
Lauren Tietz noted the enthusiasm of the Scouts, who were excited every time they found and removed a piece of garbage. She said she hoped that by participating in the cleanup, the boys would develop a lifelong appreciation for the environment. “Unfortunately,” she said, “litter is an unfortunate part of our lives. We have to keep our parks clean.”
Two groups of Boy Scouts from Wantagh cleaned up the northern end of the park, between Jerusalem Avenue and Clark Street. Members of Troops 96 and 189 wielded large black garbage bags, and had several filled by the end of the day.
Brian Walker, 17, an assistant patrol leader for Troop 96, said he had done cleanups at parks before, and was glad to do it again. “It’s good to make a difference,” he said. “Someone’s got to do it.”
Walker, joined by fellow Scout Bobby Zuch, 15, and Scoutmaster Andy Zuch, found everything from broken bottles and cans to a baseball and an old sock. They even found a shopping cart, though they were unable to remove it.
The cleanup was organized by Nassau County Legislator Michael Venditto, a Republican from Massapequa, but Venditto didn’t take credit for the idea. “It’s really driven by the residents,” he said, “and their love for the environmental gems here.”
He said he was pleased by the turnout and enjoyed seeing the Scouts come out. The weather was also ideal, he noted.
Glenn Kearney, first vice president of Friends of Tackapausha, said that cleanups at the park are a regular activity, because there are no full-time employees to walk the trails and collect garbage. “We build up with trash,” he said. “There is nobody hired to do this, so we have to rely on volunteers.”
Kearney said he hoped that by taking part in the cleanup, the volunteers would gain a sense of pride in their community as well as a healthy respect for the environment.
Scoutmaster Zuch agreed, which is why he signed his boys up for the cleanup. “It’s important that they take care of the nature that’s left in our community,” he said, “so it’s there for everybody to enjoy.”