Bags of trash fill a trailer in the parking lot of the Homer Chamber of Commerce shortly after a clean-up effort Tuesday, April 17, 2018 in Homer, Alaska. Homer Wilderness Leaders is hosting a week of two-hour sessions to help clean up the town, which will culminate in a celebration at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Saturday. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Bags of trash fill a trailer in the parking lot of the Homer Chamber of Commerce shortly after a clean-up effort Tuesday, April 17, 2018 in Homer, Alaska. Homer Wilderness Leaders is hosting a week of two-hour sessions to help clean up the town, which will culminate in a celebration at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Saturday. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

HoWL hosts clean-up week

Editor’s note: This story been updated to correct spelling, the day of the ball and clarify how to get in.

With Earth Day coming up on Sunday, several area organizations tend to offer ways for the community to get involved and help make Homer a cleaner place. One such organization, Homer Wilderness Leaders, extends that opportunity to kids.

The outdoor education group, known more commonly as HoWL, has been hosting their annual DiRtBaG clean-up week since Monday. It continues through Saturday, after which participating youths will get to celebrate all their hard work at the DiRtBaG Ball at Alice’s Champagne Palace.

HoWL Executive Director Mike Sturm was wrangling excited children in the Homer Chamber of Commerce parking lot Tuesday afternoon, getting them ready to depart in teams to areas around town. Using a map, he and other volunteers pinpointed areas to clean including parts of Pioneer Avenue and Ocean Drive.

Led by adult volunteers and drivers, youths ages 8 to 18 are invited to help pick up trash and other debris in Homer for the full week, from 3-5 p.m. each day. Sturm said there’s really only one goal: “make Homer cleaner.”

Organizers count the bags of trash, and also separate out things that can be salvaged, Sturm said. They estimate the weight of the bags to keep track of what’s been collected.

After all the cleaning, kids are treated to pizza and prizes in the Chamber parking lot. This all leads up to the annual DiRtBaG Ball, which will be held from 5-7:30 p.m. Saturday at Alice’s. The event is family friendly, Strum said, and attendees will be treated to live music by the Stringalongs, an all-you-can-eat sundae bar, door prizes and the DiRtBaG Awards.

Monday’s cleaning session saw about 22-24 kids, Sturm said, and they all seemed excited to be out there doing their part.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

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