Senior Capstone - River Clean Up

It was an impressive one-day haul.

Combining conservation and a contest, the Chaminade Julienne senior capstone group of Austin Baker, Dillon Witman, Jake Staub and Jake Schlangen created a trash derby as part of their “Cleaning Up Our Rivers” project. The one-day event hauled in more than 300 pounds of trash at Eastwood Lake on March 13.

“We weren’t really sure what to expect from the trash derby itself, we weren’t sure how many people were going to show up or how much trash would even be there,” Baker said. “But we had a solid number of peers show up to help us out and, after the weighing, we came out with over 300 pounds of trash – which we were so surprised and happy about. We knew, that day, that we were able to make a difference.”

Making a difference was exactly what the team set out to do.

“It’s an important issue to me and my group members because we all love the lakes, rivers and oceans and doing activities like fishing, boating, and just having a good time in the water,” Witman said. “So, cleaning up these waters that we love to visit was a good place to start for us.”

“We chose this issue because we are all active teens that love our lake days and we typically notice an extreme amount of trash in and around the water, so it was a pretty easy choice as to what we wanted to try to make a difference in,” Baker said.

Staub came up with the trash derby concept.

“I was pondering a way to get the most trash cleaned up that we could and I figured the best way to do it was to get a lot of people out picking up trash,” Staub said. “Next, I just had to figure out how to get the most people out to pick up trash. I thought a competition with a prize would be the best way.”

The group recruited an additional 25 of their fellow seniors to contribute to the clean-up effort. Morgan Downey and Greta Spees left the event with more than the satisfaction of making a difference as their 70 pounds of trash earned them gift cards to Dick's Sporting Goods.

“We just hyped up the derby and we had a great turnout,” Staub said.

July 8, 2020