Ask Joan: Clean It Up edition

I love getting out my Christmas decorations out, because it’s a great reason to clean the house, and to get rid of anything that’s been sitting around that I no longer want. Then, in January, I love putting them all away again and getting a clean slate to start the year. Maybe I’m weird…

Today’s Ask Joan features an important question from someone who’s a friend – not just to me, but to York County – on an even more important cleanup effort!


Today’s question comes after a recent conversation I had with Tom Smith, who many readers will know as a Master Gardener, Penn State Cooperative Extension worker, West Nile Virus Program Administrator, Keep York County Beautiful Affiliate Coordinator, 4-H helper, Audubon activist and many more awesome things.

Tom and I were talking at my daughter’s 4-H club meeting about his work with property owners across the county, trying to help ensure yards and other areas are kept debris-free, in large part to prevent the standing water that can be a draw for mosquitoes and, in turn, West Nile Virus!

Well, Tom had found a book on the history of the Conservation Society of York County (the organization which today operates Indian Steps Museum, by the way) and in the book was a brief mention of a cleanup event in York County in 1965.

You can see the book’s cover above. More the point, you can read what is mentioned about the cleanup below.


“Almost 50 years later and we are still dealing with many of the same concerns,” Tom said. He’s hoping, as am I, that if we can learn more about how the 1965 program worked, and what made it so successful, we can use that info to inform the plans for current cleanups!

We’d love your help. Do you remember the 1965 county cleanup event? How was it promoted? What types of activities did municipalities or organizations have to help incentivize people to clean up their yards?

Got any questions? Ask Joan using the form at right. I’ll attempt to answer them in a future “Ask Joan” column on this blog. I get a large volume, but I will feature three each week and answer as many as possible!

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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One Response to Ask Joan: Clean It Up edition

  1. Becky says:

    Joan: I’ve only been in York for 2 yrs and love your column! Since Tom is the affiliate coordinator for Keep York County Beautiful, he might want to look at the resources available from Keep America Beautiful’s (KAB) Great American Cleanup program. I spent 9 years working for a KAB affiliate in GA and we ran a contest similar to the one described in the Conservation Society booklet.
    Feel free to forward my email address to Tom – I’d be happy to talk with him and send him sample materials.

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