LAKE ASBURY – Kaidyn Cartafalsa is doing her part to make Clay County cleaner, even if she has to do it all alone.
Cartafalsa, an 11-year-old that lives in the Lake Asbury area, was near her neighborhood’s retention pond when she and her friend stumbled upon some baby ducks. The ducklings spurred the idea of cleaning up some of the trash around the pond.
“We found those baby ducks in the pond and we felt bad about how much trash was in the pond,” Cartafalsa said. “We were like, ‘why don’t we clean up the pond?’”
Cartafalsa printed up some signs calling for a neighborhood-wide effort to clean up the pond and posted them on streetlamps and signs around the area. On the day the clean-up was scheduled, nobody else showed up.
But that didn’t bother her one bit.
“My grandpa let me use this grabber claw thing to pick up trash out of the water and I used that to clean up the trash in the pond and around it,” Cartafalsa said. “My Nana, who drove me to the pond, was there and she helped but it was just us.”
Cartafalsa is a Girl Scout and 4-H member, so acts of community service aren’t unusual. But this was the first time she did something on her own volition. She said she loves animals and hated seeing how dirty their new home was, which is why she took it upon herself to make it nicer for the new residents.
She recently completed the clean-up. Cartafalsa said she filled up an entire black trash bag full of trash. She even found a nearly brand-new pair of Sketchers sneakers thrown to the wayside of the pond.
“It was hot and dirty, but I wanted to get it done,” she said.
Cartafalsa’s aunt, Joanna Hahn, said it’s very touching to see her niece do something thoughtful.
“It validates what we’re doing in that we’re working to raise a good citizen,” Cartafalsa said. “To see her go out there even though nobody else came, it made me really proud of her.”
Cartafalsa said she’s got a bug for this kind of work now and wants to do more clean-ups in her neighborhood and in other areas of Clay County.
“It’s what we should be doing.”