Dispatch Feature: Earth Day Cleanup Efforts

Columbus Gives Back was spotted out and about in the Columbus area by The Columbus Dispatch! CGB, Green Columbus and the Ohio Roller Derby league came together in an effort to clean up an area of the South Side.

On a sunny warm day, group enjoys participating in South Side cleanup effort

Photo Credit: Fred Squillante/Columbus Dispatch

On a typical April weekend in the past, Candace “Chainsaw” Moser would be whirling around a roller derby track, smashing into competitors.

But with the Ohio Roller Derby league now in its second season of hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Moser instead on Saturday was walking along S. 17th Street on the South Side, picking up cigarette butts and candy wrappers.

Along with her husband, Drew Stafford, and daughter Ember Stafford, 12, Moser was among about a half-dozen of her roller derby teammates who joined Saturday’s cleanup, organized by the nonprofit volunteer group Green Columbus as part of its Earth Day Columbus effort.

“We came out to be together (as teammates), since we can’t play roller derby right now,” said Moser, of Gahanna. “We can’t wait to get back, but we’re finding good things to do in the meantime.”

All told, about 15 people gathered for the cleanup, which began at the Community Grounds coffee shop on Parsons Avenue. Green Columbus had scheduled several other cleanup events around the city on Saturday, as well.

Shop co-owner Tara Mullins-Cosme was the event leader. She welcomed the group, passed out equipment and gave them directions. She said she was pleased with the turnout.

“One thing that has been nice about the pandemic is when we are able to have safe ways to give back, we’re getting more people for service-oriented events than we’ve ever gotten before,” said Mullins-Cosme, of the South Side.

The group then headed through the nearby streets: East on Deshler, past South High School, then up 17th to Siebert Ave.

On a sunny day with temperatures in the low 70s, they worked to the sounds of the clicking trash pickers and the swishing black trash bags.

One of the participants, Doug Hermanson, of Columbus’ Harrison West neighborhood, is an event leader for Columbus Gives Back, a volunteer group that helped publicize the cleanup.

“I like the outdoor events,” said Hermanson, who is an economist. “I sit at a desk all day, pointing and clicking, so picking up trash or planting flowers is something I’m actually totally OK with, especially when the weather is nice.

“And all for a good cause, which makes it all the more rewarding.”

At the corner of 17th and Siebert, the group spent some time working at a pocket park there, owned by Mullins-Cosme and her husband, Joel Cosme.