Beer cans, wine bottles, plastic cups, a crutch, plastic flowers and a lawn chair. What do these items have in common? They were all found at the bottom of the Kalamazoo River during an annual clean up.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, Albion student and faculty volunteers gathered by the Whitehouse Nature Center to go by canoe or on foot to pick up trash throughout the river. This yearly event allows students to become involved with the community while also benefitting the environment.
“It was great being able to help out like that,” said Adam Kudirka, Milford junior. “We found a lot of interesting trash.”
Kudirka estimated the volunteers filled at least a dozen garbage bags with trash from the river.
“It was really relaxing to be able to see nature in that way,” Kudirka said.
Other volunteers, however, did not have the same relaxing experience. Ted Thompson, Oak Park, Ill. senior, for example, went down river on foot. He and other volunteers wore giant waterproof overalls called waders.
“It was defiantly an interesting time,” Thompson said. “I got stuck in the mud at one point, and my phone was destroyed, but I guess it was fun.”
Although not a glamorous experience, river cleanups are necessary to ensure the river is clean and safe. Douglas White, biology professor at Albion, says river clean ups by Albion College date back to the 1970s.
“The event was organized by the Whitehouse Nature Center and the Calhoun County Conservation District,” White said. “Funds were raised for cleaning equipment and volunteer support like food, t-shirts and water bottles.”
Overall, this year’s event was a success. Students had fun while improving the quality of the river.
“I would definitely recommend students participate,” Kudirka said. “I would also advise fellow students not to throw their empty beer cans in the river next time they go ‘cabrewing.'”
Photo by Alex Carey