Green team patrols Auburn streets for litter

Trash once filled massive Dumpster
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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On their walks through a 4-mile stretch of Auburn, Mike and Rhonda Guess estimate they collect an average of seven grocery bags full of trash. Frustrated by the large amount of liter they?d see along the side of the road near their home, the Guess? decided to take action to ensure it never looked that way again. After an all-day clean-up along Auburn Folsom Road with the Sierra Club, they have continued to pick up trash on their walks together for the last four years. ?They filled the most huge Dumpster there is,? Rhonda, a retired bookkeeper, said of the clean-up, which took place on a stretch of road from the courthouse to Maidu Market in Auburn. With two of their children, Jeremy and Matthew, in medical school and the other Joel, serving as a police officer, they have a little more time to dedicate to the project. Now, the couple spends about two to three days a week on their green efforts. They used to pick up trash daily, but realized it was putting a cramp in their exercise. ?If you have to pick up trash every step you take, you don?t get a lot of exercise,? Rhonda said with a smile. Mike, a retired business and math teacher at Ponderosa High School, said the couple has gotten their trash collection down to a science. He even invested in a trash grabber tool. ?We don?t even break a stride. I just grab it and Rhonda holds open the bag,? Mike said. ?We just keep on going.? ?People probably think we are crazy,? Rhonda added. Mike said keeping Auburn free of debris is important for its image. The couple has lived in Auburn for 28 years and wants to help keep it looking sharp. ?This is such a pristine community,? Mike said. ?It?s just a shame when you see trash lying in the street and on the banks.? Their route starts on Auburn Folsom Road and winds through Downtown and Old Town Auburn. They said they even have people driving by thank them. In the future, they?d like to see other people in the community clean-up designated areas near their homes. ?We would love it if we could get a team or if certain people would adopt their area,? Rhonda said. Mike said he?d like to see a campaign to promote the environment and not littering at Placer High School, although teenagers are far from being the only ones that liter. Valerie Harris, former Auburn Police Chief, said she has spotted Mike and Rhonda on their missions to keep Auburn clean. ?They are just great people I have known and seen around the community for a longtime,? Harris said. Reach Sara Seyydin at, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News.