by Dan Slowey
Our forces assembled at 10 AM in a nondescript parking lot in the South Side. KEYS members and staff were joined by volunteers from other AmeriCorps programs and the community at large, and the entire operation was spearheaded by the wonderfully able staff of Tree Pittsburgh.
After a rousing period of preliminary speechmaking, punctuated by the extemporaneous shoutings of a still-inebriated passerby, we split into groups of 6-8 people and headed off to our respective quadrants of the neighborhood.
Our mission was humble but essential: pick up as much litter as humanly possible, and tend and mulch all existing tree beds within our territory. The author of this report, in his great and noteworthy humility, would be mortified to describe his own personal exploits in great detail. Suffice it to say that although every member of every group was essential to the success of the project, he was the only one who removed not just one but two plastic bags from the tops of the innocent trees through the use of his patent-pending Jumping Rake Swipe Technique.
In the end, the project was truly a massive success. The health of the trees and the sightliness of the South Side community were both greatly enhanced, and there were no reported rake-related injuries. KEYS members live and breathe to get things done for America, and this was a fantastic opportunity to partner with some of our wonderful Pittsburgh neighbors and do exactly that.