Litter is one of those things you only think about when it’s there.
And if you haven’t been thinking about litter around Dexter, it might be because of one family’s efforts to clean things up. Their work is as impressive as their drive for a better world.
One of the hallmarks of the Dexter area is our love of the outdoors – being out and around our rivers, creeks, woodlands, parks, meadows and preserves and taking care of these areas for the next generation. But a healthy environment doesn’t just … (excuse me here) … naturally happen. There are people behind the scenes making it happen.
Meet the Stamboulellis family.
Michelle and husband Nick along with their sons, Nicholas (age 17) and Alexander (age 15), have unofficially adopted North Territorial Rd from Stofer Rd north of Chelsea to Webster Church Rd, Dexter-Townhall Rd, and Island Lake Rd. That’s around 18 miles of road they have “adopted.”
Using their family landscaping business as a base of operations, Michelle says, “We started doing it because of the amount of trash, lining the roads was so depressing and to give our boys a sense of pride from doing something for their community.”
They put their money where their heart is. When they first began cleaning up the roads, Stamboulellis Landscaping was spending about $150 a week out of their own pocket for gas, equipment and supplies to clean up the roads. Since then, the Washtenaw County Road Commission has been helping by providing supplies and safety equipment.
Any road clean up, as far as litter is concerned, comes from volunteers or it doesn’t happen. As rewarding as the work can be, it can also be frustrating. “After our second cleaning of the roads last summer, I was getting discouraged because of the individuals who habitually litter,” Michelle says.
But instead of giving up or slowing down, Stamboulellis Lanscaping doubled down and set their eyes on even more roads to clean up. In celebration of Earth Day this past Sunday, they recruited a team of folks to go out and help clean up Dexter-Pinckney Rd and Dexter-Ann Arbor Rd.
“It is unbelievable the amount of trash lining our roads,” Michelle says.
These pictures show just a portion of the trash they have removed.
So if you’re driving around the Dexter area and like what you don’t see, thank the Stamboulellis family.
Word is getting out and more people are showing interest in the movement which Michelle has dubbed “Taking Pride In Dexter.” If you want to give a shout out to Michelle and her family or are interested in further clean-up efforts, you can reach them through their Stamboulellis Landscaping Facebook page.