One of POWERHOME Solar’s key messages in showcasing the value of solar panels to our customers is sustainability. Our solar panels are a product that produces clean, renewable energy for 30 or more years, and we’re very proud of that. We’re intent on passing on a world to our children that’s better than the one we have now, where most of the electricity we consume is generated by fossil fuel sources. But we’re not just focused on helping our customers. When others do their part in helping make the world a better place, we’re excited to help them in their mission.
Two such people doing just that are Tom Nardone of Birmingham, Michigan, and his 12-year-old son Mark. For the past year, they’ve organized “trash fishing” events on the Detroit River to clean up the waterway’s banks. For Tom, trash fishing is an extension of additional volunteer work he’s doing with his “Mower Gang” that cleans up parks in Detroit. Trash fishing came about after Mark went out on his friend’s boat and saw the opportunity to bring trash collection to another location around the city, though there was an ulterior motive at play too.
“It’s mainly because he wanted a boat,” Tom said. “That’s my favorite part of it.”
Nevertheless, the Nardones are doing spectacular, yet thankless, work. POWERHOME loved hearing about their story so much that it has donated $500 to their efforts.
Why the Nardones like trash fishing
The Nardones have held a dozen trash fishing events over the last year, with each opportunity typically drawing about a half-dozen people. They most they’ve had is about 15 for a magnet fishing event last December. But the start of any business or volunteer effort typically begins small before ideas catch on and start snowballing. That’s what the Nardones hope happens with their enterprise.
“I’m not a clean person, like if you went and looked at my bathroom or my desk at work, you would think, ‘Oh this guy is orderly,’” Tom says. “I’m not. There’s something Zen about it, just kind of losing yourself in a nice simple task. Pick this up, put it in the trash. Pick this up, put it in the trash. I enjoy that. I work indoors, so I like to be outdoors for an activity. I like fun things, and I like the people you meet when you do volunteer work, so I’m just trying to do that all together at one time.”
As much as Mark’s motivation in pitching the idea of trash fishing was to goad his dad into buying a boat, he has more than done his part to make the Detroit River’s banks a cleaner place. In fact, he earned the 2018 championship for collecting the most trash and is intent on repeating this year.
“I just know something needs to be done, and nobody else is doing it, so why just sit around and wait when we can go out and make a change?” Mark says.
Laughs also collected by trash fishing volunteers
Where this group has excelled is in making the mundane fun, whether by handing out awards or finding some fascinating artifacts.
The latter comes with a hilarious story, as Tom and Mark once found a buoy with the word “explosive” on it. That concerned Mark when he picked it up, but what he didn’t know is that the word “non” preceding the word “explosive” was covered in mud. Mark’s initial fear eased with that discovery. What the duo had found was a Coast Guard buoy used to mark dead bodies.
Trash fishing volunteers are treated to donuts upon arrival and gas for their boats. Afterward, awards are given for most trash collected, biggest piece of trash and most interesting piece of trash. In this case, they’re nothing extravagant, but can come with priceless laughs.
“I giggle about the one because my friend Charlie keeps winning the one for Biggest Piece of Trash, and we keep handing him a plaque that says ‘Biggest Piece of Trash’ which is pretty funny,” Tom says. “It doesn’t say “Collected the Largest Piece of Trash,” it just says “Biggest Piece of Trash.”
With POWERHOME’s donation, Nardone believes he’ll now have funds to assist anyone who damages a propeller in the midst of trash collection along the rocky shores. Nardone also might plan an end-of-the year banquet of burgers and beers as his way of saying thanks to those who pitched in.
How you can help
The next trash fishing event is this Saturday at the Ecorse Boat Ramp in Ecorse, Michigan at 10 a.m. The Nardones would love to see you out there. If not, you have four more opportunities before the year-end event in late September. Beyond that, Tom hopes trash fishing catches on beyond the banks of the Detroit River. Next summer, Tom hopes to do a mini trash-fishing tour where he brings the concept to other cities such as Baltimore or Savannah, Georgia. After introducing the idea, he hopes that people in the communities he visits take on the responsibility that he has to do a great thing for the environment. Be sure to like the Trash Fishing page to learn more about this grassroots group.
POWERHOME Solar congratulates the Nardones on doing something cool to make Detroit a better place to live. We are grateful for what you have done and continue to do!