I started my annual litter pick-up campaign in 2017 when I saw just how much trash ends up blowing out of downtown dumpsters and garbage cans by the often-chaotic spring winds. I wasn’t sure if anyone else would be interested in my campaign, but darn it if I wasn’t going to give it a try!
One of the people who expressed interest in my mini trash bash was my friend Jackie Horsfall. Jackie and I had met through mutual Des Moines connections, and we’d bonded over an interest in local artists. She’s one of those people who takes pride in her community and really steps up to participate and do her part. When she saw my Facebook post calling for volunteers to help pick up litter downtown near my Walnut Street studio, she was fully on board—until the weather turned foul and plans fell through. Not one to be discouraged, she picked up trash on a more pleasant day and committed to participating in Ivory House’s 2018 Eliminate Litter Challenge.
“It was even more perfect because it happened to fall on Earth Day,” says Jackie. “I had planned to drive to a local park where I knew there was garbage lying around, but on my way, I realized that there was litter everywhere. You really don’t notice it until you’re looking for it. I drove one block and saw a ton of trash, particularly in a ditch near a Dunkin’ Donuts and some train tracks. I brought a few bags with me, but should have brought 800 more.”
Jackie and her fiancée, Adam, ended up using a large bin that they found discarded in the ditch as an extra container to gather more trash. The sheer amount of waste was a wake-up call for both of them. “I realized that simple steps can make a huge difference. You don’t have to go overboard with gloves and stuff. Just pick up one plastic bag, walk around the block picking up litter, and throw the bag away. You’d be amazed at what a difference one person can make in five minutes.”
Jackie also thinks beyond simply picking up things that have already been discarded. “Reducing single-use items like coffee cups, straws, and Styrofoam takeout containers isn’t hard to do and makes a huge impact when it comes to sustainability overall.”
To top it off, Jackie and Adam had gotten engaged just a couple of weeks before this year’s Eliminate Litter Challenge! They had won a pair of tickets to see “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” in New York City, and Adam knew that this was the perfect time and place to pop the question. He carried the ring in his pocket through all of their sightseeing, on the subway, and halfway through the play. Finally, he got down on one knee and asked Jackie to marry him. I was lucky enough to be their chosen engagement photographer, and they did a fantastic job despite their nerves. “We’re both nervous, awkward people, so we were anxious about how this was going to go when we can barely even take a selfie! Whitney made us feel so relaxed and comfortable. It’s easy when you have a photographer who really knows how to give their clients what they need. Confidence is contagious.”
Congratulations to Jackie and Adam, and keep up the good work with the litter pick-up!