Student TikToker Takes on Trash with Help from a Former Governor

Henry Ferland's activism has gone viral on TikTok and led to a meeting with fellow clean-up enthusiast Michael Dukakis last week.

December 21, 2021

In January of 2020, Berklee guitar student Henry Ferland started picking up the litter he saw each day on his daily run. "I realized the trash would stay there unless I picked it up," Ferland says, "so I began cleaning it up every day and showing people on TikTok." It was a small gesture of environmental activism that he hoped would inspire others to do the same. 

Now almost two years later, Ferland, who calls himself Traash Boyyy on TikTok, has collected more than 77,000 pieces of litter (not to mention more than 85,000 followers and nearly two million likes). "I'm inspired by my followers," he says. "Getting comments from people saying they've cleaned up trash motivates me to keep going and spread my message!"

Recently, Ferland had the chance to connect with an unlikely kindred spirit in his efforts: Michael Dukakis, the 88-year-old former governor of Massachusetts. Dukakis began picking up trash every day on his walk from Brookline to Northeastern University, where he worked as a professor for many years, and he's kept up the practice ever since, gaining substantial media attention for the habit.

Last week, in a meeting broadcast by NBC10 Boston, Ferland and Dukakis met in downtown Brookline to pick up trash together. They gathered some 50 pieces of trash, and took the opportunity to discuss the latest scourge in litter: disposable masks. "In 35 minutes I found 53 masks just along the sidewalks," Ferland said of a recent outing.

But beyond talking trash trends, the outing was an opportunity to encourage one another, and to spread the word. "Him being 88 years old, it's so inspiring for me as a 19-year-old to see him still going out there and cleaning up trash," Ferland told NBC10.

Watch Ferland and Dukakis's meeting: