Stormdrain GrossI have been talking to folks lately about our field trips. These are people who work in some sort of environmental field, like recycling, sustainability, or engineering, and they want to help with field trips at the Watershed Center. I hear things like, “I want to get involved in the other side of environmental work.” or , “I rarely get the chance to get out and remind myself what I am trying to protect.” It has been my pleasure to invite these folks on field trips so that they can experience that connection to their community and environment. Once I started talking with these people, I realized that i experience the same one-sidedness sometimes in my own work. I talk to lots of groups about lots of environmental issues surrounding water, but I sometimes feel the calling of dirt on my hands and a heavy trash bag.2015-04-18 12.33.25

I have found that doing a good old-fashioned stream cleanup can be just the medicine I need to feel some instant gratification. Educating our young citizens about water is just about the best use of time I can imagine, but sometimes it can be hard to see the end result. Picking up trash is different. Here are a bunch of empty bags, now they are full. Here is a bunch of trash in a creek, now it is not in the creek. Joy! This weekend I worked with some amazing students from Missouri State University. In the rain on Saturday, they picked up about 60 bags of trash in an hour and a half or so. Today, students from Parkview High School did some cleaning out here at The Watershed Center, removing harmful and ugly fishing line and Styrofoam from the shores of Valley Water Mill Lake. It was just what I needed in the middle of a busy field trip season.

Happy Earth Day! Go pick up trash for 30 minutes. Don’t worry about commuting, you can find the stuff just about anywhere. Keep it off the street, out of our streams, and let’s put it where it belongs. And while we are at it, maybe we can make less trash too! Reduce, Reuse, Recylce….Pick Up Trash.2015-04-22 11.14.26

Have a good day!

-Rob Hunt, Watershed Center Coordinator

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