My adventures on Lake Bemidji continue. This afternoon I had the opportunity to pick up trash from the along the shoreline as part of the service learning component of an environmental class that I’m currently taking. The weather was pretty nice, albeit a bit cold, but the sun did its job in warming me up as I walked along the steep banks on the west side of the lake.
Before today I had never had really had the opportunity to help with any sort of shoreline cleanup project, and I was amazed at just how much stuff was littered all over the place! I would estimate that around forty students came out to help, splitting up to cover the entire perimeter of the lake. Working in teams of 5-6 people per group, we scoured the shoreline picking up pop bottles, beer cans, plastic bags, and all kinds of food wrappers. We even picked up a broken TV to be properly disposed of.
All in all, the lake shore cleanup was a great experience. On one hand it was sad the disregard that those who choose to leave their trash anywhere other than a garbage or recycling can, let alone on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in the area. On the other hand, I felt a sense of pride that I was doing my best to help clean that trash up and make the lake look good once again. The weather was nice, the people I worked with were friendly, and I got a pretty good workout out of the deal.
I wish I would have been able to snap some pictures of what I saw but I didn’t quite have a chance to. But what I saw reinforced how important it is for all of us to take responsibility for our actions. It is not acceptable to throw your trash on the ground and just assume that the litter is not a big deal, or that someone else will be along to pick it up for you. If we want to keep the natural beauty of our area, it is important that we all do our part to reduce the amount of garbage we create, recycle when appropriate, and not be too proud to pick up trash when we see it in the areas we enjoy most – our lakes, parks, and trails.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you all have a wonderful week!