More than a dozen students from Edgewood Middle School participated in the first “Trash Lady Project” to help clean up the Edgewood community on April 21. The date coincided with Earth Day weekend and a focus project of EMS “Destination Imagination” students.

The Trash Lady Project was inspired by Pat Burns, a local resident who for 18 months has been regularly picking up litter along the major streets in Edgewood. She has become affectionately known as the “Trash Lady” to passers-by who honk and wave in appreciation of her efforts without knowing her name.

In fact, last year, for Earth Day, the Town of Edgewood recognized Burns’ by naming April 22, 2017, as Pat Burns Day in Edgewood.

Burns recently decided she wanted to get the community involved. She shared her idea with Greater Edgewood Area Chamber which had been working on a similar plan. Together with chamber staff, Burns organized the details and five member-businesses quickly stepped up to sponsor the first clean-up day.

The EMS Destination Imagination students were approached as the inaugural volunteer group when the chamber learned students had begun a community survey regarding litter in the town. Students noticed a growing littler issue during a three-month period when Burns was unable to make her regular volunteer rounds.

Discovering that Burns’ volunteer efforts made a noticeable difference, the students were eager to pitch in and be part of the solution to the problem they were seeing.

Participating students, wearing safety green project T-shirts, were from Karen Arjeanas’ Destination Imagination group and National Junior Honor Society at Edgewood Middle School. Together, they cleaned a stretch of the Frontage Road from N.M. 344 eastward to and around the Edgewood Community Center. Several parents also volunteered to help.

The Trash Lady Project is expected to continue in Edgewood and Moriarty throughout the year with the help of various student and community groups, and sponsorships from local area businesses.

Groups or businesses interested in supporting the chamber’s Actions Speak Louder program can contact Greater Edgewood Area Chamber.