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Washington middle school cleans park

Staff and students explain how middle schoolers are preserving a park for future generations.
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 4:33 PM EDT
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CALUMET TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Sixth-graders from Washington Middle School rallied today – armed with gloves and plastic garbage bags.

Their task of the day was to clean up the Calumet Waterworks.

“The beach is about a quarter of a mile long and the students spread out and clean from the beach right up to Lakeshore Dr.,” said Darrell Hendrickson, Washington Middle School teacher consultant.

A long, hot summer in the Keweenaw brought many to beaches and parks on the water. Though, the visitors left more than footprints.

“There’s stuff like, on the side of the road, like car parts and stuff,” said Sixth-Grader Neveah Kuopus. “There’s just wrappers scattered everywhere.”

Students like Neveah Kuopus use data from their pickup collections to analyze trash trends at the Waterworks over time.

“They’re going to be making signs to educate the public on what they’ve done, and how they can keep the beach clean,” added Hendrickson.

Hendrickson says kid-made signs have already been working to keep the public more vigilant of littering at the park.

However, another sixth-grader says he wishes people would stop littering altogether.

“They won’t wanna put it in the trash can, because they’ll be too lazy to put it in the trash can,” said Sixth-Grader Cannon Wilks. “So they’ll walk around and they’ll just drop it wherever they want... it’s against the law.”

Today’s work is not the last for Washington Middle School.

“At the end of the school year, the students will actually come back out here,” said Hendrickson. “We will do a community day, in which the students will showcase what they’ve done throughout the year with their stewardship projects.”

Read more about Washington Middle School’s ongoing stewardship project through the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative.

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