by Joe Timmerman
‘A Neighborhood Cleanup’ volunteers cleaned up the Loveland rope swing and the surrounding trails alongside the National Scenic and Wild Little Miami River on June 2 in Loveland.
Joe Timmerman lives on the East side of Historic Downtown Loveland. He studies Photojournalism at Ohio University and is an LHS graduate. Read more about Joe.
On the morning of Tuesday, June 2nd, while kayaking down the river with my father and my brother Jacob, we stopped to jump off the rope swing. As I climbed the tree where the rope swing hangs, two Loveland police officers walked up the trail holding an already cut-down rope swing in their hand and making their way to cut down the main swing that I was about to jump off.
While talking to them, we found that they had received numerous complaints from concerned parents in the area after their kids had been fighting, littering, and causing trouble down around the river and at this rope swing.
I told the officers about ‘A Neighborhood Cleanup’ and the growing message that the cleanup carries with people who genuinely care about the places where we live and the places where we enjoy hanging out.
I told them about how the effort started last summer, with its first official cleanup day on August 17th, 2019 — where, with the help of my parents and friends, we cleaned up parts of our town including the East Loveland Nature Preserve, the Loveland Bike Trail, and this same rope swing area as we encouraged others to do the same in their own neighborhoods.
The officers decided not to cut down the rope swing that morning and to reconsider their options, but they did say they were going to come back later in the day to decide whether they would cut it or leave it.
After finishing our morning kayaking, I posted a photo that my dad took of the river with a message explaining what had happened at the rope swing to the @aneighborhoodcleanup Instagram account and made a group message with 20 of my friends who I know care about the effort.
A few minutes later, I had multiple responses from friends who said they would help out and at 1:30 PM that same day, we met at Betty Ray Park with a box of large trash bags and latex gloves.
When we walked to the swing with trash bags in our hands, we were met by about 15 kids from various communities around the area who were enjoying the rope swing. Within minutes of showing up and explaining the situation, a handful of the people there grabbed trash bags and started helping with picking up the litter.
With about 15-20 people coming together to pick up the littered bottles, cans, boxes, and rusty metal, the rope swing area only took about 20 minutes to clean.
Those who helped carried the 10 or so full trash bags to the dumpster found at the edge of the Betty Ray Park parking lot near the entrance of the rope swing trailhead.
Before moving on down the river to continue cleaning, we tied a trash bag to a tree limb along the rope swing trail to encourage people who visit to throw their trash in.
By Friday, June 5 while walking on the bike trail my dad and I noticed that the rope swing was still hanging from the tree and the empty trash bag left alongside it was now full.
To anyone from the Loveland community and the communities in the area who visit these beautiful nature preservations — please urge your children, your friends, your family, and yourself to respect these areas and to carry your trash out when you leave. Even if the trash isn’t yours, be the change that you want to see in your community and start making a difference — it’s amazing to see how others will do the same.
Thank you to everyone in Loveland who helped clean up and who continues to support ‘A Neighborhood Cleanup’. Our efforts made a difference in saving the rope swing and hopefully together as a community we can keep the river and the places we love clean.
An Up-Date (6-8-2020 Noon)