Adopt-A-Park Kit Instructions

Thank you for participating in the 2021 Adopt-A-Park and joining the Restore Our Earth: Mask Up, Clean Up Challenge!

This year’s Adopt-A-Park service kit is a safe, alternative way to celebrate Earth Day and make a difference in our community. Five Rivers MetroParks is a conservation agency with a mission to protect our region’s natural heritage, including more than 16,000 acres of land. Your participation in Adopt-A-Park helps MetroParks meet its mission and improves our local environment. Adopt-A-Park also is an opportunity for you and your family to safely experience the outdoors in your MetroParks, on the trails, in your favorite local greenspaces, or even your back yard to clean up litter and recyclables, then report what you collected.

Please join us in thanking this year’s sponsors: Montgomery County Environmental Services, Keep Montgomery County Beautiful, Lexis Nexis, and QEI Engineers Inc.

Adopt-A-Park service kit materials are in a reusable Five Rivers MetroParks bag. It stuffs into the pocket inside the bag, making it easy to carry it with you so you can avoid plastic bags, which are challenging and expensive to recycle. You also can plant the tag attached to the bag, as the paper contains wildflower seeds. When you’re finished with your litter clean-up effort:

  • Place the seed paper tag in a sunny area on soil that is slightly compressed, but not too hard-packed.
  • Add 1/8 inch of soil on top of the tag and give it a good drink of water.
  • After that, make sure it’s always moist. You should see sprouts within 7-10 days.
  • Continue watering and watch the wildflowers grow — reminding you of your efforts to create and support a greener, healthier community!

Here’s what’s inside your Adopt-A-Park service kit:

  • Step-by-step directions : Ensure you have a safe, fun experience making a difference at this year’s Adopt-A-Park.
  • Gloves: Wear gloves to protect yourself while helping clean up our community.
  • Trash bags (black) : Place non-recyclable or landfill-bound items you collect in the black bags.
  • Recycling bags (white/blue ): Place recyclable items you collect in these bags.
  • Face masks : Please wear a face covering when serving around others who do not live in your household.
  • Litter pick-up tool: Use this tool to collect small or light items and to involve children in the litter-collection effort.
  • ParkWays magazine and other educational content: Learn more about Five Rivers MetroParks’ parks, trails and much more, including volunteer information. ParkWays also includes information about the 2021 MetroParks Trails Challenge, Heart Healthy Trails and MetroParks’ mobile app, powered by OuterSpatial. You’ll also find a list of litter collection focus areas to help you plan.

Restore Our Earth: Mask Up, Clean Up Challenge Directions:

1. Familiarize yourself with the contents of this service kit, read all directions and review the “Serving Safely” video link included with your service kit registration. Contact volunteer services at or (937) 275-PARK (7275) with any questions or concerns. For safety concerns, contact the MetroParks Rangers at (937) 225-HELP (4357).

2. Decide what park, trail or greenspace you’d like to focus your litter clean-up efforts on and plan your trip. Five Rivers MetroParks’ mobile app, powered by OuterSpatial, can help you plan your route. You’ll also find a list of targeted sites for litter clean-up in this kit.

3. Check the weather for any rain or excessive heat/cold warnings and plan accordingly. Be mindful of boundaries and do not trespass, wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water!

4. Practice social distancing and limit gatherings to less than 10 people. If you’re participating in a clean-up effort with people who don’t live in your household, remain at least six feet apart. If you’re going to be in an area with potential hazards, such as along a waterway, be sure you have someone else with you.

5. Wear bright colors. Florescent colors and reflectors help people see you doing the important work of cleaning up litter, especially near high-risk areas such as roads.

6. Wear a mask. Please wear a face covering when serving around others who do not live in your household. Some are provided some for you in this kit.

7. Wear gloves. Always wear gloves when picking up litter! Practice good glove etiquette and DO NOT TOUCH your face, clothes, exposed skin or water bottle with gloves that have been in contact with unknown litter. Your personal safety is the most important priority! Gloves can be washed and re-used.

8. Use a litter pick-up tool: Use the provided tool to safely and easily collect litter and recyclables — without having to touch potentially contaminated litter. Sanitize your pick-up tool after use with hot, soapy water or disinfectant wipes.

9. Keep an eye on your surroundings. While you’re cleaning up litter, stay alert and pay attention to your surroundings. This will keep you safe — and you may notice beautiful details in your environment, like flowering native plants or Eastern Bluebirds returning for the season.

10. Wash your hands. As soon as your gloves come off, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands in hot, soapy water.

11. Properly dispose of your collected litter. Please see the provided list of litter collection focus areas for locations where you can dispose of collected litter and recyclables.

12. Report back. Five Rivers MetroParks will send you a follow-up email asking you to complete a survey and report back on your litter clean-up effort. Be prepared to provide the number of full or half-full trash and recycling bags collected. Providing this data is critical to determining the impact of this service project.

13. Celebrate your efforts! Every clean-up effort should be celebrated with pictures. Please post pictures of your clean-up efforts to social media and tag #AdoptAPark so we can see the good work you’ve done. MetroParks will share some of the photos on its social media channels.

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