Groups from schools, neighborhood associations and other city residents gathered last weekend to clean up parks, schools and outdoor venues in conjunction with Fort Worth’s 27th annual Cowtown Great American Cleanup.

The event was part of the “Keep Fort Worth Beautiful” initiative, which aims to decrease litter in the city by encouraging recycling and throwing away trash.

About 4,700 volunteers participated in the event cleaning areas all over the city, “Keep Fort Worth Beautiful” Coordinator Debbie Branch said. The city designated four locations for cleanups including one in Trinity Park, Marine Creek Ranch, Hazel Harvey Peace Center and Lake Arlington.

Participants at the Trinity Park location competed in a "Wacky Trash Contest" while volunteering at the cleanup. Those who found the most unusual and oldest trash won a prize, volunteer Tara Sims said.

Easter eggs, bouncy balls and old shirts made up some of the objects that volunteers found as part of their “wacky trash.” Volunteer Masako Alexander said she was excited about participating in the contest and helping the community at the same time.

In addition to the designated cleanup locations, Fort Worth residents were also encouraged to clean all over the city, Branch said. Many groups in the 109 planned cleanups around their areas.

Paschal High School had its own semi-annual program called Campus Cleanup, teacher Maggie Wilson wrote in an email. Student volunteers spent Saturday picking up trash and making the campus look nice. Between 75 to 100 students from various clubs volunteer every fall and spring, but this year the school’s spring cleanup coincided with the city event.

"Most [students] seem to volunteer for the sheer joy of seeing our campus sparkle and having the satisfaction of a job well done,” Wilson said.

The Overton Park Neighborhood Association also participated in the citywide cleanup event. They focused on cleaning the park and riverbed area of Overton Park, Bob Dellamura, neighborhood association president, wrote in an email. Residents from the Tanglewood Neighborhood Association picked up litter in their neighborhood parks, Harry Haney, neighborhood assoication president, said. 

Lily B. Clayton Elementary School’s Outdoor Club met at the school and cleaned up the campus and area parks. The club also worked on the flowerbeds by the kindergarten classrooms, Outdoor Club leader Jo Ann Collins, said.

After the cleanup, all participants were invited to attend the Earth Party at Trinity Park, Branch said. The event included food, activities and live music featuring the band, Vocal Trash.