Sonoma Ecology Center and Glen Ellen Forum partner for a creek and street cleanup day
Bikini, tutu, and pig skull among rubbish found in Glen Ellen
By BJ Blanchard
A gang of Glen Ellen do-gooders showed up on a drizzly Saturday morning, Sept. 18, feeling good about ourselves. In tandem with the acclaimed Sonoma Ecology Center as part of Coastal Cleanup Day, we embarked on a morning of roadside cleanup. Our main assignment was to attack our beloved rural roadsides and eliminate the waste and debris that collects and drifts into our creeks. We felt virtuous.
We were outfitted with Day-Glo vests, picker-upper things, gloves, and cookies. Giulianna Zoccholi and Matthew Fay set off up Dunbar Road. Katie Christ covered Arnold Drive from town to the SDC, and Bean and Trish Anderson selected the route on Arnold Drive from the post office to Dunbar Road to Sonoma Highway and back. A couple of courageous souls descended into the dry creek bed to haul out detritus that had hidden beneath the surface for years.
In years past, this “Trash Talk” event has elicited mountains of empty (and one full) vodka bottles, burger wrappers, cigarette butts, and even the odd grody sleeping bag. But it’s the unusual things that are the most interesting. One year, a pair of lady’s lacy panties was retrieved from the side of the road. Later, a gun was spotted in the dry grass; the sheriff ’s office was called, and they confirmed that it was actually a paintball gun discarded by some questionable character. Relief was felt all around.
This year, we laughed when a blue taffeta tutu with silver glitter along the ruffles was rescued from a ditch; later, a dynamic black-and-white designer bikini, top and bottom, was reclaimed from the bushes. One wonders exactly what was so important to make a gal shed such a beautiful bikini in such a hurry.
On Dunbar Road, not so far from Arnold, the Andersons found something totally unexpected. There on the side of the road, among the poison oak and crabgrass, were … pig entrails and a severed pig head. Yessiree-bob. A beautiful pig’s leftover skull, maybe after a luau, or a fancy dinner party? But the pig’s head by this time had been scoured clean by birds, foxes, and mountain lions for several days, leaving the skull, jaws, and a full set of teeth. Intestines were found nearby, untouched by the vultures.
Prizes were awarded. Zoccholi and Fay won for Most Energetic Team. The Andersons earned the Most Unusual Find award (for the pig skull). Melania Mahoney triumphed for hauling the Biggest, Heaviset Most Massive Thing Found out of the creek bed after she emerged up the bank with an old ironing board, rusty iron bedstead, and 30 pounds of raw rubbish. In total, the team removed 180 pounds of trash from Glen Ellen’s streets.
One mysterous volunteer even cleaned the Glen Ellen Bridge!
Do join us in the spring when we repeat this adventure, tentatively scheduled for the day after Earth Day: Saturday, April 23, 2022.