By J.H. OSBORNE

KINGSPORT — Jim Sell, carrying a black, five-gallon bucket in one hand and what might have appeared to be the proverbial 10-foot-pole in the other worked his way back and forth along the banks of Reedy Creek.

It was beautiful weather as he did so Saturday morning and the Greenbelt — Sell was following the linear park’s path near East Stone Commons off North Eastman Road — was busy. Many people walked briskly. Others biked. A little girl learned to go “birding” with her first set of binoculars. There were dogs on leashes, ducks in and out of the water, and even a few deer grazing

“Someone asked me what I’m trying to catch,” Sell said with a laugh.

He wasn’t just trying. He was doing. He was “catching” trash.

And so went Keep Kingsport Beautiful’s annual cleanup event for that section of the park. Volunteers are needed for similar events throughout Kingsport each Saturday this month.

Sell was just one of the volunteers who searched the creek, walkways, woods and wetlands along that stretch of the Greenbelt, seeking out and removing trash. But he had the most attention-getting gear.

Most of the trash they removed was plastic or paper containers. But there were also a couple of bicycle frames, and at least two abandoned tires were spotted in the creek, their positions reported to city work crews for removal.

“It was a beautiful day and we appreciate and thank all the volunteers who came out,” Keep Kingsport Beautiful Executive Director Sharon Hayes said. “Their efforts helped with the continued beautification of this public space, which improves the Greenbelt experience for us all. We have more cleanup events coming this month, and we invite everyone to come out and help keep Kingsport beautiful.”

Upcoming Keep Kingsport Beautiful cleanup events are:

• May 8 — Greenbelt West End (meet near Rotherwood bridge).

• May 15 — South Central (meet at the Splash Pad shelter).

• May 22 — Interchange of Stone Drive and John B. Dennis Highway (meet at Honda Kingsport).

• May 29 — Lynn Garden (meet at Lynn View Community Center parking lot).

All cleanups will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Trash bags, gloves and trash grabbers will be available along with safety vests.

Volunteers are needed to pick up trash, remove debris and help with beautification efforts. Civic, school and church organizations, Scout troops, businesses, families and individuals are encouraged to be part of one or all of these events. The cleanup efforts are opportunities for students who are looking for community service hours for honors programs and scholarship requirements, particularly Tennessee Promise and TN/VA Scholars students.

The events are part of the nationwide Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup program.

Cleanup sponsors are BAE Systems, Ballad, Domtar, Eastman Credit Union, Honda Kingsport and Republic Services.

Keep Kingsport Beautiful is a partnership of the city of Kingsport and the Kingsport Chamber. An affiliate of Keep America Beautiful and Keep Tennessee Beautiful, Keep Kingsport Beautiful has won more than 70 national, state and environmental awards. Its mission is to involve the community in responsible solutions for a clean and beautiful environment.

For more information, contact Sharon Hayes at shayes@kingsportchamber.org or call (423) 392-8814.