Cleaning up the earth – one bag at a time
By Kim Edward Adams

Kinnick Scott has taken on a big project – cleaning up this planet.

But he’s doing it in a very rational way – one bag at a time.

“I’m very concerned about our Earth,” he said. “We need to do a better job of keeping it clean, but it starts with each of us doing our part.”

The fact that Kinnick is 8 years old and a second grader at Denver Elementary School makes the project he’s taking on even more remarkable. But his young age is not stopping him. He’s doing what any 8-year-od could do in small town Iowa – walking around town every day after school and picking up trash wherever he finds it.

His father, Justin Scott of Denver, was his role model.

“We were out walking one day,” Justin said, “and I saw something on the ground and picked it up. This led to a conversation about why I had done this. Kinnick is like a sponge, and then he latches onto an idea.”

Kinnick’s idea was to make Denver a better place to live, and clean up at least this part of the earth, as much as he could. So off he went, now a daily occurrence, walking around with a garbage bag and a picker-upper tool. Justin and Kinnick approached some local businesses, asking them to donate garbage bags for his project, and donate they did.

Kinnick received not just garbage bags, but at Denver Drug and Photo, he also received an appreciation gift from Pharmacist Brett Hansen. The gift was a Jelly Belly® brand Jelly Bean® machine – the perfect gift for an 8-year-old!

“He’s such a sweet kid!” said Dawn Hoffman at Denver Drug and Photo.

Later, they were stopped on the street by someone who recognized what they were doing and offered five reusable DNR bags for his project. Now Kinnick doesn’t need any more garbage bags to help keep Denver just a little bit cleaner.

“The community has really warmed up to this project,” Justin said proudly of his son’s after-school activity.

“I challenge everyone,” young Kinnick said, “to try to fill up at least one bag each week. I bet they can do it!”

First inspired to start picking up trash by his dad, now Kinnick is an inspiration to everyone else to do their part. Who knows, someday Denver may have to change its nickname from “The Mile-Wide City” to “The Cleanest Little City in Iowa”!
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