Cedar Rapids kids give lesson in sustainability - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids kids give lesson in sustainability

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

For fifteen minutes, young Braden Kopf of Cedar Rapids is focused on one goal.

"Pick up garbage," he said.

Five-year-old Braden and many others his age were given that short amount of time to pick up as much trash as they could find in and around Green Square Park downtown.

It's part of the city manager's annual race to clean up Cedar Rapids.

You may be surprised what they were able to accomplish.

In just 15 minutes, in a couple block radius, the group was able to collect 70 pounds of trash.

Every spring, after the snow has melted, Braden's mom Melissa has noticed a troubling trend.

"All the trash from the winter time, we're not out cleaning up any of that," she said.  "It all gets piled up with the snow."

It's the reason why she and Braden were doing their part Saturday.

"The most important thing is it teaches them teamwork and to take pride in the city," Melissa Kopf said.

City manager Jeff Pomeranz is challenging every resident of Cedar Rapids to follow the lead of these youngsters and each collect one bag of trash before October.

"We're asking our citizens to do the same where you work and where you live," Pomeranz said.

A message simple enough for a five year old to understand.

"We don't want icky stuff on the ground," Braden said.

And yet, one that can go a long way in transforming an entire community.

"It takes an entire team to make anything work so you have to have everyone participating, and if every single person participates, we can make a huge difference," Kopf said.

The clean-up is part of a new sustainable initiative introduced by city leaders Saturday called iGreenCR. 

To learn more about the effort, click here.

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