TOPEKA (KSNT) – Multiple local groups are partnering together to keep the Kansas River clean. Tomorrow’s cleanup is an Earth Day celebration, but for these groups, protecting the Kansas river is a constant effort.
The City of Topeka Sustainability and Advisory board, ArtConnect, the Tonantzin Society, Native Lands LLC, Friends of the Kaw and the Kansas City Indian Center are all part of the “We Are The Keepers” initiative. They are collaborating with local artist Mona Cliff to celebrate Earth Day with art and community involvement.
City Councilwoman Christina Valdivia-Alcala, who is also a board member of the Tonantzin Society, told 27 News that community-building activities like these are educational opportunities. One major focal point this year is on water, and more specifically, protecting the Kansas River and its waterways.
According to Valdivia-Alcala, the inspiration behind tomorrow’s cleanup goes far beyond just Earth Day.
“I know that we try really hard to keep waterways clear here in Topeka, but we know that there is a lot of trash,” Valdivia-Alcala said. “There’s a lot of things that flow through the river. So how can we educate ourselves, but specifically, how can we educate children to be more involved, not only with water, but with the natural world.”
Clearing debris from the river is important, but teaching others to truly care about their water is what it’s all about. One of the groups’ main goals is to educate local children on the importance of protecting water resources.
Community members are invited to attend the Earth Day Celebration at Oakland-Billard Park starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. The event will feature a traditional Native American blessing over the Kansas River, an hour-long river clean-up along the riverbank and art activities for the kids at the park.