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Wade-ing in garbage

WAEC third-grader doing his part to protect the environment

Photo submitted to Times Observer Disappointed at the amount of trash people left in the woods, Wade Lewis, 9, is shown with only SOME of the garbage collected from the forest one afternoon.

Wade Lewis is a lucky boy.

While he’s only a third-grader at Warren Area Elementary Center (WAEC), he knows Don and Kate Reed through Sharing Place, a local soup kitchen at the First Presbyterian Church.

Through the years, Kate has volunteered to read to kids on Thursdays, and that included Wade. Members of other churches are welcome, and relationships have grown from there.

Kate said Wade has gone with her and her husband on hikes around Warren County… to help the Reeds pick up garbage.

While that doesn’t necessarily sound like the most fun for a third-grader, that’s why he’s a lucky boy.

Photo submitted to Times Observer Disappointed at the amount of trash people left in the woods, Wade Lewis, 9, is shown with only SOME of the garbage collected from the forest one afternoon.

“Maybe that will mean he won’t be a litterbug when he grows up,” said Kate.

After reading tan article in the newspaper on Saturday, “Cleanup organizers would like to see what you can do,” Kate wanted to throw a little praise toward the third-grader.

While local group cleanups are being postponed, Wade’s a perfect example that you don’t need to be that organized or even in a group to be helpful.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Wade picked up litter recently while hiking at Jakes Rocks and Bent Run with Don and Kate.

“Those of us who live in Warren County are privileged to be able to enjoy the beautiful outdoors while still following the CDC recommendations for social distancing,” said Kate. “Although the parks are allowing hikers and bikers, restrooms are closed and all trash must be carried out at this time. Wade was disappointed to find lots of beverage containers, dirty diapers, food packaging, and other garbage which people left behind instead of disposing of properly. It’s everyone’s responsibility to protect our natural resources.

“We’ve known him for years and started hiking with him last fall,” said Kate of Wade. “We tried to express to him that anybody can pick up all this crap in a few minutes. The expressions on Wade’s face in the photographs we took, he was trying to express that he was disappointed. Disappointed at the amount of trash people left in the woods, Wade… is shown with only SOME of the garbage collected from the forest one afternoon. (He) knows smelly food and waste including dirty diapers can ruin a walk in the woods for humans and wildlife. Let’s all leave the area better than we found it.”

Kate said some of the things they found on a previous hike to Kinzua Bridge included things they didn’t want Wade to pick up… like men’s boxers and doggy bags of waste.

“Jake’s Rocks was the worst,” said Kate.

“We compliment Wade for picking up other people’s garbage,” she said.

“But we live in a beautiful area,” she said, why does he have to do it?

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