Geography club contributes to massive Trash Bash river cleanup in Missouri

The SIUE geography club sent two faculty members and 10 students to volunteer for the 6thAnnual River des Peres Trash Bash.

SIUE Geography Club members volunteered for the Trash Bash. Photo courtesy of Stacey Brown.

Held Saturday, Oct. 18, at the rivers and creeks within the River des Peres Watershed in Missouri, local environmental community groups, coalitions and volunteers banded together to clean up the trash.

According to geography professor Stacey Brown, more than 100 volunteers removed 300 tires and filled five dump trucks with trash.

Brown said she enjoyed helping during the 3-hour event to be able to help the community from an environmental perspective.

“We have the ability to make a lot of impacts in a good way,” Brown said. “Picking up all that trash helps clean up the water of the river, especially with the tires and all the things that are there it helps the water flow better.”

Brown said geography is all about the environment and how people interact with it.

“We understand the impacts and implications of all of this waste and all that trash and what it can do to our environment,” Brown said. “In terms of geography and trash our focus is really on the environment and how to make it better for everybody around us.”

Geography club member and graduate student Crystal Converse, who is also a board member of the River Des Peres Watershed Coalition, said she loved volunteering for the Trash Bash event.

“I love that a bunch of people in the community got together to clean up River Des Peres Watershed: a bunch of streams that intertwine together and run into the Mississippi,” Converse said.

Converse added that she liked how the Mississippi River did not draw a border for people attending but actually attracted people from both sides of the river.

Serving as string team leader for the coalition, Converse said she determined a site at the river to be too high and dangerous for cleanup, and although they had to pick a different location, the event went quite smoothly.

Converse said she hopes SIUE could do more volunteer events like this in the community because it can provide networking and funding opportunities for the club and get the university name out.

A contest, according to Converse, was held by the committees that awarded groups for their discoveries and findings of trash in the following categories: the biggest find which was a 12-foot long broken culvert; the most valuable find which was an 85-pound condenser made of copper; and the most strange find which was a large neon plastic snowflake.

For more information about trash clean up events in St. Louis, visit the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District website.

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