Students Collect the Trash

GSU students clean Thorn Creek
GSU Biology Club members bag trash along Dralle Road in University Park. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

University Park, IL-(ENEWSPF)- In preparation for Earth Day – and because it was badly needed  – students from the Governors State University Biology Club recently braved the pouring rain and chilly temperatures to clean up the drainage ditch along Dralle Road and Thorn Creek, which runs through the University Park Campus.

The students filled bags with discarded bottles, plastic bags, cans, and paper – all of which they expected to find. They were surprised, however, when they hauled up a porcelain toilet complete with water tank, a queen size mattress, old tires, a hot water tank, and yards of metal fencing, fence posts, and coiled wire.

Perhaps the most surprising trash find, and the most ironic, was a blue recycling bin, which wasn’t even filled with recyclables. It was just tossed into the creek, blocking the flow of water and harming the natural environment.

“This is a part of the campus usually only seen by our biology students conducting field work, but all this trash has an adverse effect on the environment. It clogs the flow of water and impedes water run-off. This effects local farms as well as the animal and plant life in the area that need the water,” explained Dr. John Yunger, professor of biology who worked with his students to collect the trash.

The fruits of their labors – the piles of refuse – were on display during the GSU Earth Day celebration on April 21.

Students who participated in the clean-up were Rodney Balitewicz of Chicago, Peter Gladstone of Park Forest, Angie Tapley of Homewood, Fannie Stanfa of Tinley Park, and Jessica Woodman of Country Club Hill.

Governors State University Facilities Development and Management employees Kevin Barto, Percy Cornelious, Bill Lopez, Eri Villagomez, Steven Turner, and Ron Bachus assisted the students with heavy equipment to haul large items from the creek bed and dispose of the items. Wherever possible, the trash will be recycled.

Trash collected
GSU Biology students pull mounds of trash from Thorn Creek. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)