ENTERPRISE — Spring cleaning took on a special meaning Thursday and Friday, April 22-23, as about a dozen volunteers celebrated Earth Day by holding a “litter patrol,” cleaning up the Wallowa County Recycling Center and holding a recycled art contest.

The Friends of Wallowa County Recycling organized the effort, as nine members of the Wallowa County Rotary Club spent a couple hours Thursday picking up trash along Highway 82 from Enterprise to Eggleson Corner, filling 21 bags.

Friends member Randi Jandt said there were a few interesting finds among the trash.

“Interesting finds this year did not include any checks like last year,” Jandt said, in reference to a $200 check found during a similar effort in 2020. “But they included a small, new American flag (still in the wrapper), an Easter card from 1982, a large cardboard box (creepily labeled “Research Mannikans”) and pages of a quite torrid letter — or someone’s draft of their latest romance novel.”

The recycling center got to show off a recently arrived mobile recycling unit trailer, purchased with a grant from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

On the trailer were entries in the recycled art contest where throngs of people could vote on the winners, spin a wheel for prizes and learn about the county’s recycling program.

The winners will be on display soon at the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in Joseph. Everyone who entered an art piece got some kind of a prize, Jandt said.

Local merchants and individuals donated more than $1,000 in prizes and giveaways, she said.

Friends volunteers cleaned out the recycling centerbuilding, pressure-washed the gummy plastics room floor, picked up escaped paper around the grounds and perimeter, mounted a new decorative sign and accomplished other chores, Jandt said.

Mike Harvey was on hand with his Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products. All Harvey’s products have refillable containers — a throwback to when we all used to refill stuff — with the intention of reducing plastic waste in the landfill. Harvey’s products are available locally at the Wild Carrot Herbals in Enterprise and Joseph Hardware in Joseph.

Local merchants kicked in great prizes and gift certificates, reminding us that the best way to reduce packaging and transporation waste is to shop local, Jandt said.

She said even the weather cooperated for the efforts at the recycling center and the litter patrol.

“If only we could have weather like that every Earth Day,” she said.

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