What is voluntourism you ask? Voluntourism is a form of tourism in which travelers participate in voluntary work, typically for charity. Earth Day is an exceptionally good time for visitors, and residents, in Johnston County to give back to the open spaces, parks, and trails they use throughout the year to recreate, enjoy nature, and spend time outdoors with family.

The Friends of Johnston County Parks is hosting their fourth annual countywide clean up in honor of Earth Day.  The event is a coordinated, county-wide litter clean up scheduled for Saturday, April 20th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The group is working with local parks and recreation departments as well as county partners, in addition to NCDOT as part of the North Carolina Litter Sweep program.  Friends is organizing and promoting the event, with clean ups happening all across Johnston County.

At Countywide Earth Day Clean Up Event Volunteers Pick Up Trash on Side of Road

Participating partners include: Town of Clayton, Princeton Community Action, Town of Selma, Smithfield Parks & Rec, Kenly Parks & Rec, Town of Archer Lodge, TLC Flower Hill Preserve, Bentonville Battlefield, Cleveland School Rotary, and Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center. The Town of Benson will be holding a litter clean up event as well on the 19th in partnership with the Friends. 

Registration is required to participate in the event; the volunteer registration form can be accessed and filled-out here. You can select a preferred geographic area of JoCo you’d like to work in as a volunteer on the form. Once the Friends group has confirmed all participating towns and sites, participants will be matched to their preferred area. In addition, Friends board members will also be leading clean up efforts at a few unincorporated areas. Bags, gloves, and safety vests may be provided at each location as available, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own if they have them.  

Below is footage from a previous year's event.



“We’re excited to be hosting our fourth Earth Day County-wide Cleanup, which presents a great opportunity to get outside and make a positive difference. Last year more than 270 volunteers across the county cleaned up 7,100 pounds of litter, and we look forward to again working with volunteers and community partners across our beautiful county,” said Jessica Meadows Rich, the event organizer and Vice President of Friends of Johnston County Parks, “Our parks, greenways, and open spaces are important assets and resources for the residents of Johnston County. Earth Day is the perfect time to give back and do our part to help keep them clean and free from litter for everyone’s enjoyment.”

The Friends of Johnston County Parks is a 501(c)3 organization with a volunteer board advocating in support of parks, open space, the arts, and recreational opportunities on behalf of all Johnston County citizens and visitors. The group’s four strategic priorities are advocacy, education, recreation, and stewardship.

At Countywide Earth Day Clean Up Event Volunteers Pick Up Trash at East Clayton Park