By Lauren Rust
A simple clean-up can lead to engaging questions and answers about recycling, responsible drinking, and how to make Carey Park cleaner.
The HCC honors students, along with sponsor Ryan Diehl, participated in their first community service project of the year on Aug. 19.
The project involved picking up litter around Carey Park for the United Way Day of Service.
Diehl said the honors students have been cleaning up the park every year since at least 2011, minus one year when they participated in a different project.
At 9 a.m., each participant received a spike-equipped litter stick, a trash bag and gloves as they began cleaning the park.
While working, students found objects ranging from lost shoes to used syringes. Some of these objects led to intriguing conversations.
“We found a lot of alcohol bottles. Drinking out by the river can be dangerous even if it is shallow,” sid Courtnee RoTramel, Sedgwick.
Irresponsible drinking could cause problems and a pattern of misconduct that Hutchinson does not need, RoTramel said.
Alcohol bottles were not the only items that students found. With the sheer amount of candy wrappers, Styrofoam cups, and fragments of glass found, it seemed that Carey Park could become a location where trash is all people can see.
“Our environment will never stay beautiful or prosperous if we don’t start to make a conscious effort to keep it as clean as possible,” said Brigid Reilly, tri-chair of Honors Student Council, Hutchinson.
After the clean-up at 11:30 a.m., the participants sat down and ate lunch in the picnic areas. As they ate, Diehl asked what they could do to influence others to recycle.
There were many ideas brought up, including raising awareness and teaching children to recycle and pick up after themselves.
“I think that the trash bins are really spread apart from one another,” said volunteer Kevin Nolde, Hutchinson.
“I also didn’t notice any recycling bins while I was there, so maybe that could help out as well.” If all of these things were done, Carey Park would look better and maybe even attract more families and college students to exercise, study, and have fun.
At the end of the service project, the honors students walked away with smelly clothes, great memories, and ideas of how to make a difference in the Hutchinson community.
By the way, don’t worry — all the trash from the lunch was recycled or thrown away.