Who ever thought picking up trash could give a peace of mind to someone?
A Gilbert couple, Nicole and Justin Corey, are taking the initiative to help restore the beauty of Arizona by picking up filth.
The couple's non-profit called Natural Restorations connects veterans to find peace through nature in the entire state. It's a natural "therapy," and also provides contract work that can be quite difficult to find at times for vets.
They launched Natural Restorations in 2015 with the Arizona Trail Association acting as their fiscal sponsor.
"My husband's best friend, he had a really relaxing, therapeutic experience when he would go out in the desert and pick up trash with us, so we took that example and thought we could give back more to vets by providing low-stress, low-anxiety and outdoor employment opportunities for them," said Nicole.
The group consists of five people, three of them being veterans, and then Nicole and Justin.
At the moment, the group is currently working at Tonto National Forest near the Off-Highway Vehicle area, which is funded through the OHV Fund, managed by the Arizona State Parks Board.
"This is like a full-time job for her, she's always trying to find ways to get us grants," said Justin about his wife.
Just this year, the crew has already removed 110.71 tons of trash and ever since they launched in 2015, the crew has overall picked up 179.96 tons of trash. All coming from Arizona's wilderness.
"Our goal is just to expand and to make a bigger effort by having more of our dedicated restorations teams across the state," said Nicole.
Nicole and Justin are in hopes that their non-profit will eventually receive enough funding to create substantial crews across the state and be able to hire more veterans with pay to keep Arizona beautiful.
The crew has completed six restoration projects already near OHV areas in the Mesa Ranger District, Lower Sycamore, Mesquite Wash and more.
When summer hits, the crew takes their efforts north of Flagstaff and will resume cleanups in the Valley and in southern Arizona this upcoming fall.
If you would like more details about Natural Restoration or how to get involved, visit www.naturalrestorations.org.