Young girl helps fight littering problem

A recent trip to a local park to play turned into a clean-up effort by a 6-year-old Wapakoneta girl.

Riley Warwick and her mother, Amanda Warwick, went to Veterans Memorial Park to swing and play on the equipment, but after they noticed a lot of trash laying around, the young girl started picking it up to make the playground clean.

“I wanted to pick it up to keep the earth healthy,” Riley said. “It’s called just being nice.

“It makes me feel sad because our Earth gets all dirty when people throw litter on the ground,” she said.

Riley, who will be a first-grader at Wapakoneta Elementary School, said she hopes people stop throwing litter on the ground and instead start doing like her, and picking up the trash they see.

On that day alone Riley picked up a bag of food, several empty bottles and other pieces of smaller trash left in the playground area.

“We sure do enjoy this park, and she felt giving back to the community would be beneficial by cleaning up another person’s trash,” Riley’s mother said.

Amanda Warwick said it’s nothing new for her daughter though as she is always cleaning up around Wapakoneta, the boat ramp at the river, or wherever she goes.

“I’m so proud of her,” Warwick said.

She said her daughter has been picking up trash she sees not where it belongs since she was just a toddler.

“It all started when she was about 2 1/2 and she dropped some trash on the ground,” Warwick said. “I explained to her that littering hurts the Earth and also that animals get into the trash that people throw on the ground.”

Through the years, Riley has continued to learn about littering from her mother and through her involvement in Girl Scouts, as well as school.

“It makes me so proud because she’s such a young girl and is making a huge difference in her community,” Warwick said. “She has an amazing heart and I’m so glad she wants to make the world a better place. She stands as an example to her younger brother and other kids or even adults that may see her picking up trash.”

Riley’s mom said she’s hoping her daughter’s example encourages others of all ages to pitch in and help, too.