By Jonathan Woon
Jonathan Woon is a senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him @jonathanwn.
A giant hose wraps around a tree and travels to a small mud puddle, where it has laid for months. Will Rosson, Southwestern alumni, attempts to drag it from the tree, but to no avail. Walking away, he can take solace in the fact that it’s one of the few pieces of garbage around the Walnut River that can’t be picked up.
The Green Team took the lead in this year’s Earth Day events by cleaning up the area around the Walnut River that runs adjacent to the Winfield fairgrounds. Starting at half past noon, Jason Speegle, director of Green Team, and company took to the mud and dirt to pick up as much litter as they could. With the various events that are often stationed around the area, the effort was to make the area look better.
“A lot of folks visit this area of the fairgrounds multiple times a year,” said Alex Gottlieb, of Gottlieb Lawn and Landscaping. “The idea was to clean it up so that the folks visiting would get a better taste of Winfield rather than having a trashy environment.”
Initially, the effort was a collaboration between several groups, but unfortunate circumstances trimmed the helpers down to only three organizations, which included the Green Team, Gottlieb Lawn and Landscaping and Grace United Methodist Church.
“We did have some last minute changes of plans that lowered our numbers,” said Speegle. “We were originally expecting to have about fifty people out here, which would’ve had a much bigger impact.”
Despite the low participation, the workers were not deterred in their efforts. “The fact that we’re out here on a nice, sunny day and that we’ve collected dozens of bags of trash out of the river, that’s a success,” said Speegle.
Gottlieb agreed that the day had been successful. “I would guess so far that we have thirty or forty bags of trash,” he said.
Ashley Jordan, Green Team member, picked up two, full bags of trash. She had no doubt about her work. “I’m just doing my part,” she said. “And I think it helps you personally grow.”
How the surrounding nature looked wasn’t Jordan’s only concern, however. “I know that a lot of animals live by the water and there are fish in the water,” she said. “I want to pick it up and get it out of the way so they’re not involved with it.”
Even though everything wasn’t picked up, like the hose around the tree, it’s safe to say that the area around the Walnut River is a little more beautiful.
The green efforts continue tomorrow at Island Park, where the same organizations plan to work just as hard. The clean-up starts 1:00 p.m., and will continue until 4:00 p.m. The event is open to all, and helpers are encouraged to attend as the area around the park and the moat is tidied up.
Dalton Carver is a sophomore majoring in communication. You can email him at email@example.com or tweet him @dalty_james.