See a video of the group in action online.
Volunteer with PickUpAmerica.org for a day through the website or call 301-523-1257. THURSDAY, Aug. 19: Picking up from Dupont City to Charleston. Meet at noon at the Rite Aid in Dupont City, 3175 W. Dupont Ave. FRIDAY: 7 p.m. potluck dinner at Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 502 Kanawha Blvd., Charleston. SATURDAY: Picking up Charleston to Dunbar. Meet at noon at state Capitol. SUNDAY: Dunbar to west of St. Albans. Meet at noon at Shawnee Park.CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- They call themselves "pickup artists" -- and you can take that literally.
If you happen to spot a cadre of twentysomethings (including one fiftysomething volunteer from Moscow) in bright yellow-orange vests gathering piles of trash along area roads in the days ahead, you're looking at a pretty remarkable commitment.
The four founders of PickUpAmerica.org, along with volunteers that might include you if inspired by their call to personal action, are picking their way across America, picking up trash from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
They've been moving across West Virginia for a few weeks now and are looking for like-minded "trash-terns" as they pick up through Charleston, on to Huntington and beyond.
"On March 20, we left from the coast of Maryland on the Atlantic Ocean. We dipped our feet in, burned some sage, said a nice prayer for the ocean and started picking up trash right there on the shore line," said Davey Rogner, a 24-year-old from Silver Spring, Md.
"Pretty much, we've have been doing it ever since. Full-time, picking up litter. We are the anti-litter."
But it's more than just a do-good effort by some younger folk looking to score a good deed for a few days.
The group's founders are in it for the long haul -- and you can take that literally and figuratively. They aim to dip their feet in the Pacific off San Francisco sometime in 2011, having not only cleaned up hundreds of roadways on the way, but also leaving lessons behind through music, dance and art about the cost of America's disposable culture.
They'll stage a high-profile event on Sept. 13 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the state Capitol Complex lawn, building a mountain out of recyclables. (People wishing to help build the piece should gather at 11:30 a.m. that day at Haddad Riverfront Park in downtown Charleston.)
"It's going to be all recyclables we've gathered from the side of the road in Kanawha County," said Rogner.
Rogner and crew worked one day recently along the Greenbrier River near Alderson. The crewmembers were impressed by the beauty of the Mountain State, and then noticed the huge volume of trash alongside one of its most beautiful rivers.
"Seriously, this is ridiculous," said co-founder Jeff Chen, 24, of Columbia, Md., surveying the litter from a day's pickup, from old tires to wires, plastic bags, plastic bottles and other detritus lining the road beside the river. "There's 14 bags of trash there. It's disturbing how much trash there is."