Volunteer Spotlight: Aly Krystkowiak

  • What inspires you to volunteer your time?
Aly Krystkowiak

I really value and cherish my favorite outdoor places and picking up trash is an awesome feel-good thing that anyone can do to pay respect to the natural world we are lucky enough to call home.  I want animals and other peoples’ experiences to be untainted by the harm and distraction of the human footprint as much as possible. Trash picking also keeps me physically fit and mentally stoked on life by encouraging me to visit my happy places and contribute to their well-being.


  • What made you choose debris removal?

I grew tired of always having the same negative thoughts when going to my favorite outdoor places and seeing trash: “Why the heck is this nasty stuff here and who in their right mind is going to pick it up?”  One day I just started filling up dog poo bags full of debris found along my beach walks with my dog, Leroy, and realized how much of a need there was for it. Instead of continuing the same negative thought flow, I decided that since I was going to be out there enjoying the beach anyway, I could be the one who picks it up! What a mutually beneficial excuse to visit my favorite outdoor places more frequently!  Trash picking is not only the best excuse to enjoy the outdoors and help the environment, it is also a great workout, a wonderful way to inspire others, make friends, and discover new favorite outdoor spots.


  • What words of advice do you have to people interested in volunteering?

Just get out there and do it!  If people are looking at you while you’re picking, it is because they are moved and inspired; just smile and continue rocking it.  Next time you are out there, you might just see them picking up trash!  Join a cleanup group and ask a friend to go with you if you are intimidated at all.  If you aren’t interested in handling trash, find a friend who is and participate in data collecting (no trash handling involved!).  Remember, dogs also make excellent picking partners.  Have fun, be safe and stay positive!