FARGO — Most of the time if you see people hovering around your curb on Cleanup Week, it's because they're scavenging for items that they might be able to salvage — they're probably not striking a pose on a rusty old toilet. But most people aren't Sally Jacobson.
For the past six years, Jacobson has turned Cleanup Week into the backdrop for some pretty funny pictures. It all started during Cleanup 2014 when she was out for a walk with her husband and children.
"We saw a desk sitting on the curb. My husband said 'wouldn't it be funny to start working at the desk?' So we did and we took a picture," Jacobson says. "When I got home I was still laughing about it."
So she decided she wanted to keep at it. She loaded her car with costumes that might work to wear when she ran across other commonly discarded items like refrigerators, couches and exercise equipment.
"My sister and I would go out with the kids and take the pictures," she says. "I loved it when the homeowners would peek out of their house and laugh at what we were doing."
She shared the photos privately with just a few friends on Facebook, but word started to spread.
"After a couple of years, I'd have people calling and telling me their neighbor was putting something out on the curb and I should come over," she says.
But word really got out last week when a Facebook friend posted about her "talented and gorgeous friend Sally" and what she was quietly doing every year. The post was shared 1,300 times.
You might be surprised to know that when Jacobson isn't Fargo-Moorhead's most well-known curb model, she has a pretty important job. She's the executive director of the Red River Zoo. But she says the two roles are more related than you might think.
"At the zoo, we're always thinking about reduce, reuse and recycle," she says. "Our primary goal is saving species and encouraging conservation efforts everywhere. When I drive around on Cleanup Week, it really hits me how much stuff we all have and how important it is to keep educating everyone about these things."
Jacobson says in addition to the bigger environmental message here, it's just time for some levity after a long, cold winter and hours of spring cleaning.
"It makes me smile," she says. "I get a kick out of making people laugh."