AUSTIN - Litter is a huge problem in many major cities, including in Austin. That's why one woman is challenging herself to spend 365 days picking up debris and trash along the most beautiful parts of the city -- the parks and trails.
For Austinite Julie Sondecker, city parks offer her slivers of nature in a bustling city.
"I love to hike on these trails, like this is my happy place,” she said.
But over the last several years, Sondecker has noticed the community is making some trailheads and walkways into litter bins.
"Once you start seeing the trash, you can't get away from noticing it,” she added.
Sondecker began picking up a few items while out on her run, soon, the handful of trash turned into a bag's worth. That's when she decided she had to do something more.
"How great would it be if I documented this, say on an Instagram, and I can do it for 100 days, 100 posts. If I can do it for 100 days, I can do it for 365 days, why not?" Sondecker said.
Every day she would clean a different part of Austin and post a photo of her findings against beautiful backgrounds. It was a challenge against herself and perhaps a way to inspire others.
"So other people see it and then potentially maybe do it. If you are somebody that occasionally throws a cigarette butt out the window, maybe you'll think about it," she said.
Friday was day 108.
Rain or shine, Sondecker is strict with her goal, spending as much time as necessary.
"I would say 45 minutes is a pretty average one,” she said. “Sometimes it's quicker, sometimes it's a lot longer."
Bed sheets, cans, plastics, cigarettes, and clothing are just a few of what she sees on a daily basis.
Sondecker says she knows she can't save the world from litter, but she can help her community stay healthy a little longer.
"These trails and this land was here long before us and it's going to be here long after us,” she added.
After the challenge is over, Sondecker plans to continue her clean up while she goes on her runs or walks, but not on consecutive days.
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