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Blog Life at Kion Cleans Up

Ashley Conway

3 min read

Last updated on February 4th, 2023 at 2:12pm

As the team continues to grow, we’ve been able to float more creative team-building ideas. One in particular that stuck was volunteering with the Patapsco Heritage Greenway (PHG). Many of our employees frequent the park, whether it’s biking the trails or hiking with family. With so many of us having a close connection to the park, it seemed like a natural fit to give back to Patapsco Valley State Park. Our group was lucky enough to be PHG’s first official Team Building Opportunity (TBO).

This wasn’t your average park clean up volunteer work. Patapsco Heritage added a few friendly competitions to up the ante. Our group was split into two teams: Team Extreme (orange vests) vs Trash Tamers (green vests). Everyone gloved up and headed out for the first of two challenges of the day. Whichever team could return with the most weight in trash would claim the winner’s title. Team Extreme raced back with quite the haul. Items included trashcans, bottles, clothing, and other debris. We were even able to contribute to their growing tire count, adding six tires to the running total.

Photo of Team Trash Tamers

Team Trash Tamers

Team Extreme’s trash haul weighed in at 500 pounds of trash, earning them bragging rights. Meanwhile, the Trash Tamers were laser-focused on removing an XL recycling bin from the river bank. The Trash Tamer’s weigh-in fell short, but in total, we removed an astonishing 785 pounds of trash from the river. Despite the Trash Tamer’s demise, they won another prestigious title: Most Unique Item. What earned them this title you ask? An old “River Closed” a river. More ironic than unique, but it made for a good laugh.

photo of Cody with river closed sign

Most unique item found: River Closed Sign

For the final tie-breaking challenge, we became experts in spotting invasive species. Specifically, the oriental bittersweet which is a Japanese vine that is engulfing the trees in the Patapsco Valley State Park. The removal of these invasive vines is almost simpler than spotting them. A small clip of the vine from the root will eventually kill the vine and save the tree. Whichever team returned (on time...looking at you Trash Tamers) with the most vine clippings would break the tie for a win. Team Extreme returned with the most clippings, saving 255 trees, and 399 in total from both teams. Check out PHG's website to learn more about other invasive species in the park and how you can help.

photo of winners of invasive cleanup

Most invasives removed: Team Extreme w/ 255 vines cut

All competition aside, everyone at left feeling a sense of pride as we helped further Patapsco Heritage Greenway's mission to protect, preserve, and restore. A special thanks to everyone at PHG for making this a success! If you’re interested in learning more about the park and volunteering, check out the PHG website.

photo of winners of most trash removed award

Most trash removed: Team Extreme with 500 pounds!

About the Author

Ashley Conway

Ashley is the operations specialist at Kion.

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