Two teams, one clean creek

College Creek is looking especially good this summer, thanks to the recent kindly attention of nearly 80 volunteers.

It's the time of year when volunteers put on old shoes, grab trash bags and lend a hand at the College Creek cleanup.  However, this year, the small creek got extra enhancement when students visiting campus as part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Carver Internship program waded in to assist.

Two volunteers wade the creek, picking up trash

Carver Interns Anya Priyanka Bonifaz and Zachary Brown took some time off from research activities to help clean College Creek. Photo by Arlyssia Sells.

The Carver interns got there first. Unable to attend the scheduled July 25 event, they hit the creek July 11.  More than 40 volunteers, including 32 students, CALS administrators, professors and family members, tackled the portion of the stream that traverses the ISU cross country course, roughly from State Street to South Sheldon Avenue. Wading the creek and patrolling its banks, the crew picked up hundreds of pounds of trash ranging from bottles and metal fence posts to an 8-foot, 150-pound plastic drainage tube.

Last weekend, 36 volunteers focused on the portion of the creek that meanders through the southeast portion of campus, from the Memorial Union parking ramp to University Boulevard. The group netted several hundred more pounds of the usual trash (plastic bags, cans, bottles and hubcaps) and the more exotic (folding chair and hammer).

It's the seventh year for the College Creek cleanup, director of sustainability Merry Rankin said. The program was the brainchild of Shannon Sanders, a former political science student and intern in the Office of Sustainability's Live Green! program.

"What a wonderful difference this community-engaged and supported event makes," Rankin said of the annual program. "I'm so impressed with the volunteers who, year after year, come out to make our campus creek and its watershed cleaner."

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