If there’s one thing Ellie Burkhart positively hates, it’s trash.
Carelessly discarded cigarette butts, fast food wrappers, and gum melded to sidewalks, among innumerable other items of revolting refuse, are the bane of this Greensburg Junior High School student’s existence. One stroll through the downtown area is likely to yield visions of each type of garbage described above; a fact which has turned Ellie’s stomach enough that she’s turned herself into the leader of a campaign aimed at eliminating all manner of errantly-thrown eyesores throughout the Tree City.
Begun last year, Ellie’s project is called “Go Greensburg! Keep it a Cleansburg!!,” and it entails the enlistment of other concerned individuals in an effort to keep her town as ever verdure as its namesake. After all, one person, no matter how ambitious, can’t do it all alone.
In that effort, Ellie has sent out letters to businesses throughout Greensburg calling for volunteers to aid her in the endeavor the morning of April 6. She has contacted Greensburg Community Schools administrators, the Junior Optimist Club, the Kiwanis Club and Rotary Club for help thus far, but she hasn’t stopped there.
Ellie has partnered with Main Street Greensburg — itself dedicated to improving the city’s aesthetics — for the second annual Cleansburg event, which kicks off at 9 a.m. the first Saturday in April. Ellie has also taken to the local airwaves of WTRE, alongside her mother Susan and Main Street Greensburg Executive Director Bryan Robbins, with the goal of raising awareness and adding ready, willing and able recruits.
Getting the word out for Ellie’s program has been relatively easy, but attracting like-minded individuals with a penchant for picking up trash hasn’t.
Ellie’s school pals haven’t proven as enthusiastic for her program as she has as of yet, but Mom Susan is hoping to see involvement from the Greensburg Junior High School Junior Honor Society, of which Ellie is a member.
Help will come, the Burkhart family believes, by a mutual vested interest among all Greensburg residents in keeping the city beautiful.
“I don’t want visitors to see all the trash and think Greensburg is a trashy town,” Ellie told the Daily News.
Following the clean-up — and in the meantime as well — Ellie hopes all Greensburg and Decatur County residents will exercise a little common sense when choosing to discard that empty taco wrapper. Trash cans and recycling bins are there for a purpose, after all.
Ellie and her clean-up crew plan to meet at the courthouse gazebo, then take to the streets April 6 rooting out the garbage problem everywhere they find it. Ellie listed several “areas of concern” in her letters such as the shopping centers of Greensburg Crossing, State Road 3 near Wendy’s, the industrial district on Montgomery and Barachel, and the parking lots near the Holiday Inn Express and Wolf Theaters. Others are the field behind Walmart, Greensburg Community High School, the city park entrance, the field between Urgent Care and Dr. Robert Eversole’s dentistry office, the field near North Decatur High School, West Main Street near Premier Ag and the Knights of Columbus Hall, the fields of East Base Road and the back lot of Don Meyer Ford. In the end, however, wherever trash collects is where Ellie wants to be, broom and dustpan in hand. All she needs is a little help.
Ellie’s mom told the Daily News she hopes to see groups form prior to the official start of the Cleansburg program. Susan Burkhart said groups can contact her or Ellie, letting them know in advance the areas their crew plans to clean. In any case, supplies such as gloves and trash pinchers will be provided. A limited number of t-shirts bearing the “Go Greensburg! Keep it a Cleansburg!!” logo will be available as well. Interested parties should let the Burkharts know in advance of what size shirt he or she requires. Susan has encouraged those who participated last year to wear their shirts from the inaugural Cleansburg event. The bright green color of the shirt was chosen to aid in the safety of those out and about in the city, performing their Cleansburg duties. Those without Cleansburg shirts will be outfitted with safety vests provided by the City of Greensburg.
In an effort to help spread the word, Ellie has created a Facebook page for her program at www.facebook.com/gogreensburgkeepitacleansburg. Facebook users can “like” the page and watch it for more details concerning the Cleansburg event.
At press time Thursday, Ellie’s page had 59 “likes,” a number sure to grow in the little more than three weeks before the Cleansburg kickoff.
But regardless of how many individuals come out in support of the Cleansburg cause Saturday, April 6, Ellie’s mission will be accomplished when the day comes when everyone stops to consider their actions before throwing trash on the ground.
“Go Greensburg is about keeping the community of Greensburg clean,” Ellie’s Cleansburg Facebook page reads. “My goal is to get people to think twice before littering.”
Those wishing to lend a hand to Ellie Burkhart’s program can contact her via the Cleansburg Facebook page, cell phone at 560-1263, or through email at email@example.com. Susan Burkhart can be reached by calling Doerflinger Insurance at 663-3769 or by cell at 614-2039.
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056