DOINews: USFWS: Cleanup is a Walk in the Park

Last edited 09/05/2019

For some people, going the extra mile to make a difference is just a walk in the park. For USFWS Midwest Region Payroll Coordinator Valerie Eastland, you can take that literally.

Valerie Eastland
USFWS Midwest Region payroll coordinator Valerie Eastland cleaned up a pond near work on her own time. Photo by USFWS.

During break time, Eastland and Deanne Endrizzi from the Migratory Birds office, often go for a walk on a trail winding between some natural and manmade ponds in an area between the office buildings at the USFWS Regional Office, in Bloomington, Minn.

“For the last three years since I've worked at this building, I've noticed all of the trash that washed up on the far end of one of the natural ponds. It is such a pretty spot except for all that trash. It bugged me. I felt like I needed to do something about it,” Eastland says.

She says she thought about trying to get a group together to do the cleanup, but time was running out before the tall grass and weeds would interfere, so she decided to take on the cleanup project herself.

She got some trash bags and cleaned up the area on her own one day after work in early May.

park cleanup
A park near the Service's Regional office in Minnesota before and after employee Valerie Eastland cleaned it up. Photo by USFWS.

“Most of the trash was plastic bottles and Styrofoam. I didn't have time to clean up everything, but it looks so much better,” Eastland says.

“Valerie is yet another example of the conscientious people we have who care deeply and just go out and get things done, often without a whole lot of fanfare,” says Assistant Regional Director for Budget and Administration Chris Jensen. “By taking this project on herself, everyone in our building complex enjoying the hiking trail can see the beauty there, and not be bothered by any lack of maintenance. She should know it is appreciated.”

A 31-year federal worker, 13 of those years with the USFWS, Eastland says: “It's just a small area. I know I can't clean up the whole world, but I'm glad I could do my part to clean up a little piece of it.”

By: Larry Dean, USFWS

June 13 2014

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