When Delaney Nordbrock joined BFF Omaha as an intern in 2019, she couldn’t have predicted that the following year she would be leading the charge to ‘go green’ in Benson. She first started volunteering at BFF as a videography intern, but her fiery passion for sustainability naturally transformed her role into something new; A role specifically geared toward keeping Benson healthy, sustainable and vibrant.
One thing you must know about Delaney is that she is an avid lover of all things related to nature. In fact, she’s a self-proclaimed “professional tree hugger” and is determined to work with plants for the rest of her life. She’s passionate about sustainability, the environment and herbal healing. And Benson. She loves Benson.
Benson is a place where thousands of people come to eat, shop, drink and gather. Because there are so many people walking the streets of Benson on any given day, it can mean a hefty amount of trash is discarded onto the ground.
As the trash cans overflowed and the litter piled up, Delaney recognized that environmentally-friendly practices were missing in Benson. She wanted to take care of the neighborhood and see it flourish so that the community could enjoy it. Partnering with her sister McKenna Nordbrock, Delaney pitched the idea of bi-weekly Benson clean ups with the BFF crew. And thus, the BFF Green Team was born!
“This is our home,” said Delaney. “I don’t live [in Benson], but it feels like a home to me. So, I want to take care of it the way I know how, which is through the environment.”
Every other Sunday, BFF volunteers began to meet at Petshop in Benson, BFF’s headquarters, to roam nearby streets and collect litter. The Green Team collects several trash bags full of litter each clean up, mainly consisting of aluminum cans, cigarettes, liquor bottles and straw wrappers.
Those who frequent Benson are taking notice of the cleanups, according to Delaney. When she launched the community cleanups in January 2020, it would take the Green Team hours to pick up litter in Benson. Now, since Benson residents have started to recognize the cleanup crew, Delaney notices less litter on the streets. She believes that since Benson regulars know the Green Team will be cleaning up trash on Sundays, they think twice before discarding trash onto the ground.
“In the grand scheme of things, picking up a couple of cigarette butts is not going to end climate change, but I think it at least sparks an idea,” Delaney said. “I love it when people stop us and say ‘you’re doing a great job.’ They get so excited about it.”
The BFF Green Team’s footprint isn’t limited to community clean ups; they regularly provide education about sustainability and the environment, create public art projects that add beauty to Benson, landscape and host community events.
As for the future, Delaney hopes to see the Green Team expand its footprint in Benson, to positively influence the neighborhood for years to come, and to continue to provide a way for people to connect and build community.
Delaney says that her experience with the Green Team has helped her grow as a person, pushed her out of her comfort zone, exposed her to a diverse group of genuine people and allowed her to meet some of her closest friends.
If you’re interested in volunteering for the BFF Green Team, we are always looking for new friends. No environmental background needed – everyone is welcome! Reach out to Alex Jochim for volunteer opportunities and follow the BFF Green Team on Instagram to stay privy of upcoming community clean ups.