Pacific Beach Street Stewards helping keep community clean
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 10/31/19 - 01:00 PM | 54155 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Plenty of streets available for volunteers to join Pacific Beach Street Stewards.
Plenty of streets available for volunteers to join Pacific Beach Street Stewards.
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Ocean Beach Street Stewards have become so successful they are branching out to Pacific Beach with a new chapter. Aaron Null, a 10-year OB resident, recently created a Facebook page asking residents to fill in the gaps in beautifying OB by adopting a block to clean each week.

Now Null’s got longtime friend Alex Davenport has followed suit in Pacific Beach.

“Aaron and I have been close friends for several years and when I saw he was promoting this movement that he put together, I commented on one of his Facebook posts saying, ‘We should do this in PB.’” Davenport said. “And he said, ‘Let me help you out.’”

Being a surfer, networking for Davenport began by tapping into his existing social groups.

“Being a surfer, obviously there’s a heightened level of environmental awareness with people directly interacting with the environment through surfing and other outdoor activities,” he said. “There is a hardcore group of people I knew would be interested in participating, based on past experience.

“The Facebook platform also allowed me to seek out people to participate and start the concept with them.” Davenport launched PB Street Stewards on Sept. 23 and now has 70 volunteers participating after just a month. He described his approach to community beautification as “really casual.”

“Typically, folks in neighborhoods will choose to adopt one or two blocks in the immediate vicinity around their house,” he said. “When they do, we update our map with green lines indicating someone has adopted that block. We encourage people, when they walk their blocks, to be personally accountable and pick up trash about once a week. We don’t want people to feel super pressured. At the same time, we want everybody to participate on a long-term basis.”

Null noted PB “has been a little different animal” in launching a new street stewards program. “It is a more spread-out neighborhood so it is taking longer to fill in, but it is coming along,” he said.

“It was a little tough to get early adopters,” added Null. “But once we hit a threshold, we've seen it blow up. We're at 70-plus volunteers there now (90 in OB), 80% of them female.”

Said Null, “I’m starting to work with some groups of people who represent housing in PB, as well as PB Town Council to spread the word more.”

Davenport is keeping his ultimate objective in mind.

“Our main goal is to have every corner green on our map so that we can have a comprehensive approach to keeping the community clean,” he said.

Asked if he was looking for more volunteers, Davenport responded, “Absolutely. We want them to find an open block nearby them, or join forces with their neighbors and double team one of the blocks that are already taken.”

Null noted becoming a clean-up volunteer is as easy as picking up a bucket and a trash grabber and getting out there and doing it.

“I’d like to see it happen all around San Diego,” he said. “It gets you excited. It’s pretty cool.”
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