#KeepTruckeeClean: Youth awarded for snowman, environmental stewardship | SierraSun.com

#KeepTruckeeClean: Youth awarded for snowman, environmental stewardship

Staff report

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Town of Truckee Vice Mayor Morgan Goodwin and Truckee Police Chief Adam McGill presented Truckee resident Damyn Dettling with an Outstanding Citizen Award on Feb. 1.

Damyn received the award due to his creativity to keep the sled hill at McIver Meadow clean, according to the town, by helping build an impressively large snowman and erecting a nearby sign that politely asks residents and visitors to "Please Keep It Clean!"

"Damyn and I are always trying to think of creative building projects on the weekends. That's our bond," Damyn's father, Aaron Dettling, said in an email to the Sun. "We have built the 'big snowman' for a few winters now, but it has always been in our own backyard. This winter, we wanted to build it somewhere where everyone could enjoy it. The sledding hill seemed like an obvious choice."

The hill, which has over the years become a popular recreation area for families, is located in a high-traffic area on the south side of Donner Pass Road just west of downtown, across the street from the Villager Nursery and next to First American Title Company.

During the Christmas and New Year's holiday weeks at the end of 2015, the Tahoe-Truckee region saw a major influx of visitors due to early season snow, and many took to the sled hill for some family fun.

Unfortunately, as was documented in a variety of Facebook posts and other social media, many sledders did a poor job of maintaining the area, as a large number of broken sleds and other pieces of trash were left scattered on the hill.

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"When I discussed the trash issue that Truckee was having at the hill with Damyn, he simply said, 'We should make a sign with the snowman,'" Aaron said. "Normally, we approach smaller projects, but the innocence and simplicity of his suggested solution was so profound to me, it had to be done."

Goodwin and others volunteered time to clean up the mess, and since, the snowman has encouraged everyone to have fun — but to also be respectful of the environment and pack it out.

"There are so many positive lessons we've learned from doing this project," Aaron said. "But for Damyn, most importantly, he has seen how a small, creative act can make a big difference."