The world is cleaning up. On Sept. 25, 2010, volunteers from around the US will be participating in the annual Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-Up Day.
Here in Utah, cities, landowners, clubs, organizations, and different companies have all teamed up in an effort to clean up the Utah Legacy Preserve.
The Preserve was created when the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) bought land to build Legacy Highway. The land that wasn’t used for the highway was designated as a nature preserve designed to restore natural plants and provide a safe habitat for migratory birds that depend on the plants around the Great Salt Lake area to survive.
“We invite people to help make a difference in their own backyard,” the project’s environmental consultant Lynda Jo Sperry said.
“This is our third year of being involved, and I love it,” Sperry said. As a biology teacher at Salt Lake Community College (S.L.C.C.), her focus is trying to get Bruin students involved in this project. In past years, they have had between 150 to 200 people show up to contribute.
Sperry is offering her Biology class an opportunity to replace a 1-2 page research paper with coming on the 25 and helping with this project. In the past three years, students who have participated found this experience extremely rewarding.
“They (past students) loved it,” Sperry said. She still has students who e-mail her asking about service projects in the area. The 25th is also an opportunity to see the Legacy Preserve, which is normally closed to public.
She believes that coming to this event could be a valuable experience. “It’s your own backyard…students need to have experience to make big decisions,” she said. “This project is a good opportunity to get out there, get some fresh air, and meet new friends.”
She feels that being out there and helping to clean up the Preserve may open the eyes of the volunteers. “When you’re out there picking up trash, and you pick up your thousandth water bottle, maybe next time you’ll think twice before you throw one out your window…” Sperry said
Many students don’t show up. About eight to ten students per biology class will make an appearance and sometimes the SLCC environmental club will put a group together to help out. After taking a survey of twenty students in Sperry’s Biology class, only two people said they were for sure coming. Five people said they might come, but weren’t sure, and thirteen said they weren’t interested in going. When asked why, most of them said it was too much work, and they had better things to do.
According to Sperry, however, “Anything valuable is hard work.”
The program offers free lunch, and the Wasatch Mountain Club is providing canoes so volunteers can canoe down the Jordan River and pick up trash. If you are interested in going, it starts at 9:00 a.m. and you take the 500 South exit on Legacy Parkway.
To sign up, visit signuptocleanup.org.