During the month of June, 2017, environmental professionals from Lexington County, the City of Columbia and Richland County took to the streets and parks to play some educational games with dog owners. This engaged the public in discussion of the reason why picking up after their dogs keeps our waterways cleaner. Boyd plaza in Columbia was the scene of the first Mutt Mingles event held on June 1, during the city’s popular First Thursday gathering on Main Street. This well-attended event resulted in people to learning about the pet waste stations that have been added to parks and city areas to make it easier for them to get access to a bag when they need to pick up their dogs waste. Jennifer Satterthwaite, Communications Coordinator for the City of Columbia’s Utilities Department, provided a cute Trash the Poop brochure to visitors as she discussed the importance of getting dog waste off the city streets so that it doesn’t wash into storm drains to pollute the river. A “teachable moment” was provided by a spin-the-wheel game. Players needed to correctly answer a question on topics related to air & water quality, as well as recycling and energy conservation. Children and adults participated and had fun while winning prizes such as rubber duckies and water bottles to enhance the theme of cleaner water resulting from trashing the poop! A special drawing at the conclusion of this event resulted in a large prize basket from Pet Supermarket and bags of organic dog food from Pet Supplies Plus going to lucky winners who had attended the event.
Next, it was Lexington County’s turn to host Mutt Mingles on Thursday, June 8th. The owner of White Knoll Pet Resort & Spa graciously offered space for Mutt Mingles at the new facility located at 518 Kyser Road in Lexington that provides boarding, day-care and veterinary care for precious pets…..pups can even swim in the doggie pool! India Woodson, Environmental Coordinator for Lexington County and assistant Mary Hite led the festivities that included a demonstration of how to use a bag dispenser that attaches to a dog’s leash to hold a plastic bag and have it ready when walking the dog. The popular Wheel game was once again a hit with people who came to pick up their dogs after boarding or day-care or a visit to the vet. Ms. Woodson also provided information on free pet waste stations for neighborhoods that Lexington County will provide to neighborhoods that request them. She explained that only a simple presentation to the Homeowner’s Assn. is required as a prerequisite to obtaining one from her office at the Lexington Public Works Department. At the end of the event a name was picked of a person who attended the display, and she won a Doggie Dooley pet septic tank that is a handy accessory to a dog owner’s home.
On June 15th, Chenille Williams, Richland County’s Education and Outreach Coordinator, had oversight of Mutt Mingles event held at North Springs Park while the coordinators for the City and Lexington County assisted her. The same games, prizes and spin-the-wheel game were utilized and again drew visitors from the park to the attractive display. Each environmental educator participating in Mutt Mingles had a hand in creating the questions for the Wheel game. Examples of the True/False questions that visitors had a chance to answer at Spin-the-Wheel were:
- Putting trash and waste down a storm drain pollutes lakes, rivers and steams. (T)
- A dripping faucet can waste up to three gallons or water a day (T)
At the end of the event in North Springs park a lucky winner went home with a comfortable dog bed donated by Pet Supplies Plus.
While putting bagged pet waste in the trash may seem simple enough to do, the fact is that pet waste from family dogs contributes to the level of harmful bacteria in our waterways, and reminding the public to “Trash the Poop” is an ongoing priority in the environmental community. Please do your part if you are a dog owner and remember to always “Trash the Poop”!
For more information go to http://www.trashthepoop.com .