June is National Rivers Month, and Iowa State community members and the city of Ames are invited to recognize it by coming out to volunteer at the annual College Creek Cleanup from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Everyone will be divided into groups that will work through a designated part of the creek to pick up any trash, according to a press release from the Office of Sustainability.
This event is one part of the Live Green! initiatives the Office of Sustainability oversees. Director of Sustainability Merry Rankin said there are three things she and her team are constantly focused on:
- Increasing education and awareness around sustainability
- Providing engaging opportunities to connect to increasing sustainability and impact in the community
- To cultivate a stewardship ethic so people feel empowered.
Rankin described the College Creek Cleanup event as one of those engagement opportunities Live Green! is trying to implement in Ames and on campus. The event was initially started by one of the former Live Green! interns in 2009 when she needed to develop a volunteer opportunity to connect people to environmental responsibility.
“She came up with the idea of hosting a cleanup event that would allow people to make an instantaneous difference, and also, of course, this creek is connected to a watershed, and it has an impact on water quality,” Rankin said.
This event taking place during the summer also allows for a different demographic of volunteers due to regular semesters not being in session, and it is a way for all groups of individuals to come together and better the environment in Ames.
“It brings different people to campus, you know, people that may be visiting the community, maybe taking summer classes, people that may be coming in to visit relatives or friends that have come back. So it was just really kind of a fun, different type of engagement opportunity,” Rankin said.
Rankin highly encourages all to come out Saturday because even though it can be hard to think even one person can make a difference, change has to start somewhere.
“Every small act is significant,” Rankin said. “No act is insignificant, no decision is insignificant that we make, and I think this really lends to the impact that a group of people can make for their community.”