Fourteen St. Louis Community College students from Zoe Geist’s introductory biology class collaborated with Missouri Stream Team to clean up a creek behind the South County Education and University Center on April 10.
Students picked up trash, including metal pipes, a bicycle buried in the stream bed, bottles, Styrofoam, basketballs and television monitor frames. Most of the trash was concentrated in the creek behind the east parking lot of SCEUC all the way to Lemay Ferry Road.
One of the main goals of the project was to remove an old water heater partially buried in the stream bed. It took the combined efforts of six students and Stream Team volunteer Bernie Arnold to remove the water heater, which was heavier than normal because of the mud and water built up inside.
“It was very hard,” said STLCC student Chase Allen. “We kept running into problems to get it out. Every time we thought we had a solution, there was another problem to figure out. We didn’t want to leave the water heater in.”
“One way or another, it was coming out,” said STLCC student Jeremy Brown.
Geist is no stranger to stream cleanup. She has incorporated this service learning project into her introductory biology class in July, as Missouri Stream Team assistant for St. Louis Brian Waldrop brought the trash to Geist’s attention. Geist is now a Stream Team volunteer.
“I am really proud of the enthusiasm and the efforts of the students in this project,” said Geist. “The students see firsthand how littering is a problem, and along with research to investigate human activities that negatively affect watersheds for their project, they come to an understanding about what it takes to keep the natural ecosystem clean for all living things. This project promotes education and stewardship of streams, and those are the same goals of Missouri Stream Team. Any citizen can participate to help keep streams clean.”
Student Amanda Orwig said, “I felt excited, I felt good about myself doing this.”