Through the efforts of Natural Restorations, a Valley environmental clean-up organization co-founded by Nicole and Justin Corey of Gilbert, more than 360 tons of rubbish and 28,018 square feet of graffiti have been removed from Arizona’s recreation and wilderness areas over the past four years.
“We started Natural Restorations because… we didn’t like hearing people talk about shutting down access to the public because of the trash and illegal dumping problem,” Nicole Corey says. “We also wanted to find a way to provide meaningful work in the outdoors for military veterans.”
Funded by grants and donations, the nonprofit organization partners with overwhelmed land management agencies to haul out mounds of debris (think: human waste, food wrappers, plastic bottles) and clean up defaced natural assets.
The org recruits student volunteers, too. “Rather than going into a classroom and talking about the trash problem, we bring kids out of the classroom and into nature to learn the importance of stewardship,” Corey says.
The Coreys encourage trekkers to bring a bag on their hikes and pack out everything they bring as well as trash left by others on the trail. Anybody can join in the effort by volunteering or donating at naturalrestorations.org.