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April 21, 2017

ASU students, community members and businesses team up to clean up Tempe butte

On hiking paths, under desert rocks and stuck on cactus thorns, trash left behind by hikers and visitors piles up every year on “A” Mountain until a group of volunteers braves the desert heat to clean it up.

On Friday, April 21 — in honor of Earth Day — community members, local businesses and the ASU community rallied to help keep Tempe’s only preserve clean at the the annual “A” Mountain Restoration.

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and the School of Sustainability partner with the city of Tempe to organize the event for the well-known butte with panoramic views.

“This is a mountain that is used, and overused and loved, and loved too well,” said Lauren Kuby, councilwoman and manager of events and community engagement for the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. “So every Earth Day, the least we can do as a community is give back to this mountain.”

 The mountain has a rich history that many Tempe residents might not know about: It was first home to the Hohokam who lived there around AD 700, according to Tempe city planner and architect Bonnie Richardson.

Petroglyphs dating back to when the mountain was surrounded by water are one of the main reasons this mountain is so special to the local landscape — and why restoring it is important to this group.

“We have about 100 people here. They’re devoted, and I’ve seen people come back too, along with new people. For them, it is a ritual.” Richardson said.

Companies like FedEx and Slickables, along with ASU student groups and Tempe residents, gathered at the base of the mountain at 8:30 a.m. They were supplied with garbage bags, trash pickers and rakes as well as coffee, hats, sunscreen, a sack lunch and, of course, water.

“We pick up tons of trash, literally,” Richardson said. “They’re raking, putting new gravel on the pathways and setting the rocks so that the paths are very well delineated.”

Richardson says that she has seen the city of Tempe grow significantly and that the turnout for this event is pretty steady. For her, it’s about preserving Arizona’s rich history and landscape.

“We call ourselves ‘sustainable Tempe’ for a reason,” Richardson said. “And the more we can get out with the community and share why it’s important is what’s important.” 

Reporter , ASU Now

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Pitchfork strong at Pat's Run 2017

Check out photos from this year's Pat's Run in Tempe.
April 22, 2017

Thousands take part in community event to honor Sun Devil and soldier Pat Tillman, and the efforts of our military and veterans

Nearly 30,000 members of the community took part in the 2017 Pat's Run — the annual race honoring the legacy of Sun Devil and soldier Pat Tillman — in Tempe on Saturday, including a special group of 50 participants wearing shirts inscribed with the names of people who've served as inspiration in their lives.

The members of Team 42 got their shirts Friday evening and wrote the special names on them. Here, a handful of team members explain whose name they wrote and why.

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

The annual race, which also honors all who've served and those who support them, is the signature fundraising event for the Pat Tillman Foundation, which provides scholarships for veterans and their spouses.

A number of shadow runs around the U.S. in late April accompany the event, which traverses 4.2 miles in Tempe — symbolizing Tillman's No. 42 jersey as a member of the Arizona State University football team from 1994-97. He went on to play with the Arizona Cardinals, leaving his NFL career after 9/11 to join the U.S. Army. The events commemorate the day Tillman died in 2004 in Afghanistan serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment.

The Pat Tillman Veterans Center also honors Tillman's legacy, providing a number of veteran support resources. It has locations on the Tempe, Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic, West and Lake Havasu City campuses, as well as an ASU Online component. For more information about the center’s services, click here.

Explore the fun and activities from this year's Pat's Run in Tempe in the slideshow below.

Top photo: One runner flashes a pitchfork at the crowd as runners take off from the start of the 2017 Pat's Run on Saturday in Tempe. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now