DHS students hold first Legacy Park cleanup


SGA Earth Day logo made by DHS senior Max Wilson.

Will Booker, Writer

On Sunday, Mar. 26, Decatur High School (DHS) seniors Abe Werner and Madelyn McElroy led the first of five two-hour clean-up efforts at Legacy Park in preparation for the inaugural Student Government Association Earth Day 5k on Apr. 29. Student volunteers worked to line pipes under the Legacy Park course in order to improve drainage and water flow to prevent puddling on the trails. Clean-up efforts will take place each Sunday from 2-4 pm until race day on Apr. 29.  

Werner and McElroy encourage DHS students and Decatur residents to volunteer for the Sunday clean-ups. 

“[Everyone] is encouraged to join in the efforts,” Werner said, “We have a lot of work to do on the trails, and that work is hard so the more people that sign up, the faster and more efficient we can be.”

McElroy was the original proponent for a Legacy Park clean-up. Werner, an SGA chairperson, was brought on to head race organization, registration and clean-up volunteering. Werner’s background in cross country and track – as well as his connections within the running community – were helpful during race planning. After finding that the race couldn’t be held on the roads, Werner suggested using the Legacy trails as an alternative. 

McElroy, the SGA secretary and a member of SGA’s Sustainability Task Force, noted that a composting proposal has been in the works for years. 

“I have been a part of the Sustainability Task Force since my freshman year, and I was one of the SGA members originally working on composting in the beginning of this year,” McElroy said. 


After meeting with DHS administrators to propose a switch to compostable lunch trays and utensils earlier this year, SGA members ultimately decided on a fundraiser to support the cost of a composting program for the 2023-24 school year, which came to life as the upcoming Earth Day 5k. A portion of the proceeds will also go to Decatur’s Track and Field program.

“The transition to compostable waste in our lunch room is [not only costly to begin], but also [includes] a continued price for pickup every month,” Werner said. “[As for] Track and Field, we always are in need of more financial support as we currently rent out a track from Dekalb County and Agnes Scott.”

McElroy and Werner envision the Earth Day 5k to be an annual event continued by DHS students for years after the two graduate. 

“I hope that this project encourages DHS students to live more sustainable lives, and that it lays the foundation for successful environmental initiatives at school, specifically the composting program,” McElroy said.


Sign Up Link:

Clean-up Volunteer Sign Up https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d4eaea822a0fcc43-sgaearth/107667873#/

Race Sign Up