Taking out the trash

College Creek volunteers

Volunteers slosh along College Creek on a cleanup mission. Submitted photo.

Volunteers pulled 25 bags of trash from the banks and bottom of College Creek Saturday. In a preventative action, they also cleaned up nearby parking areas, hoping to keep lot litter out of the creek.

It was the fourth annual cleanup of the portion of the creek that winds through the southeast corner of central campus, and some 30 volunteers turned out to pick up 640 pounds of trash.

"That's an impressive haul when you consider that much of the trash is plastic bags, which weigh almost nothing," said Merry Rankin, director of sustainability. Rankin also noted that volunteers picked up a lot of parking receipts, likely from the pre-pay East Campus Parking Deck. She urges drivers to properly dispose of receipts, or better yet, forego them altogether unless they're needed for records.

One community

As in past years, the creek cleanup was as much a community event as a campus event, Rankin said.

"We had a lot of nice support from the Ames community," she said. "Individuals and families turned out to pick up trash. And area businesses supported the event with refreshments and door prizes for volunteers."


Rankin said a student intern in the sustainability office came up with the idea for a College Creek cleanup four years ago, and interns have planned and carried out the event since.

The cleanup is sponsored by the Live Green! program and Keep Iowa State Beautiful campaign, in partnership with facilities planning and management.