East Carolina University ReLeaf and Backdoor Skateshop will host a “Thrash the Trash” cleanup at Jaycee Park located on 2000 Cedar Lane on Sept. 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. where they will have a skateboarding session after the cleanup.
Robert Malpass, senior industrial engineering technology major and president of ECU Releaf, said he skateboards during his free time and has reached out to Backdoor Skateshop in the past for cleanup partnerships with Releaf. After posting on his social media about an abandoned skatepark filled with trash located in Jaycee Park, Malpass said Backdoor Skateshop reached out to him and said it would help ReLeaf clean the park.
Malpass said Jaycee Park is the only skate park in the Greenville, North Carolina, area. He said the park has long been neglected by the city and there is a lot of trash and wood chips that are dangerous for skaters.
“There’s no real lighting at night (at Jaycee Park) as well, and it's not in the best community but it's not horrible,” Malpass said. “But there's just tons of trash as well and that's on the skaters but it's also on the city for not maintaining their public parks.”
ECU Releaf and Backdoor Skateshop are expecting over 100 people at the cleanup, according to Malpass. He said he has tried to get in contact with the East Branch Library, which is nearby the park, to ask if trees can be planted in the area to give volunteers other activities to do after the cleanup.
Volunteers at the cleanup are encouraged to bring their own gloves, water bottles and a friend, Malpass said. He said people are also encouraged to bring a face mask.
“The Backdoor Skateshop, all the guys there really love it. They love the idea of cleaning the park up, we're calling it ‘Thrash the Trash’,” Malpass said.
The Environmental Droners will also be present at the cleanup, Malpass said. The Environmental Droners are a group of high schoolers who will take before and after drone shots of the skate park cleanup. The video will be sent to the board members in the City of Greenville to encourage them to do more about keeping the city clean, according to Malpass.
Billy Rabon, an employee at Backdoor Skateshop, said the workers in the shop are excited to be involved with the ReLeaf cleanup project at Jaycee Park. He said Backdoor has always believed in supporting the Greenville community and to inspire youth to be involved in projects.
"Backdoor has always believed in supporting the community whenever we can and we feel that doing this will not only help the community but also, hopefully, it will get the younger youth inspired to get involved with future projects,” Rabon said.
Kean Dal, co-founder of The Environmental Droners, said Environmental Droners is a youth-led initiative founded in 2021 where the group uses technology to film in polluted areas. Dal said the group takes the footage and tries to spread environmental awareness and try to post cleanups as well.
The Environmental Droners plan to arrive at Jaycee Park before the cleanup to get before shots of the skate park, Dal said. He said the group’s role is to take footage of the whole cleanup and all the people who decided to volunteer their time to save the environment.
“Our role is basically to take footage of all the people that showed up and decided to volunteer their time and show there are people who do care about their environment,” Dal said. “So hopefully it inspires even more people to come out and help them clean up and stuff like that.”
Sunook Yoon, one of the co-founders of The Environmental Droners, said The Environmental Droners partnered with ECU Releaf and thought it would be a good idea to film people cleaning up the trash and skating in the park.
Yoon said The Environmental Droners have an Instagram and YouTube account where the group mainly posts the videos the group captures. Yoon said at the cleanup, the group will collect footage of people volunteering and create a video to post on its social media accounts.
“Right from there, there's gonna be a lot of trash (at Jaycee Park), so we're gonna invite volunteers from Releaf from ECU and also from Love a Sea Turtle. But we plan on picking up as much trash as we can,” Yoon said.