College Creek cleanup 2019

The Live Green! Initiative hosted their annual "College Creek Cleanup" event Saturday. RJ Green lifts the lid of a garbage can out of the murk of College Creek, near the Ames Intermodal Facility. 

It was a hot and humid day, but College Creek was cool, and it was getting cleaned.

Merry Rankin, Iowa State director of the Office of Sustainability, helped  coordinate the volunteers from a tent in the parking lot of the Forker Building.

“For the most part it is just groups of individuals that are just volunteering on their own,” Rankin said. “We do have the George Washington [Carver] Scholar research interns from College of Ag and Life Sciences.”

The event was organized by the Live Green! Initiative, which is overseen by Iowa State's Office of Sustainability — with the goal of making Iowa State as green as possible.

The volunteers were joined by a church group from Nebraska. Rankin said the church group had been on their way to an event in Kentucky, but it was cancelled due to the rain. On the way back to Nebraska, the group sought out initiatives and discovered the College Creek Cleanup.

The organizers of the College Creek Cleanup gave the church group 12 reusable plastic water bottles as a thank-you before they left. They had provided lunch and bug spray to the volunteers.

The creek itself seemed to be running clearly, and small fish were visible in places. Insects of various sizes and species attacked those who came near, and the saturated dirt along the water meant those walking along the edge sunk in.

Savannah Ast, junior in animal sciences and industry at Kansas State, was among the Carver interns helping with the cleanup. Ast said there was a lot of generic trash and Styrofoam in the creek.

“I filled up four trash bags,” Ast said. “I found a decapitated rubber chicken and a bag of garlic [in the creek] — everyone here did a really good job.”

Other Carver scholars said they found the post to a stop sign, shoes and clothes, batteries and magnets. 

Bike pulled from College Creek during clean up

Along the points of College Creek were garbage bags filled with trash and objects too big or too dangerous to place into them. Near the Ames Intermodal Facility, they found rusted and twisted metal that appeared to have been a part of a car at one point, and parts from at least two bicycles.

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