Two things must be cleared away to make room for spring: snow and trash.
While students at Ashland Community and Technical College can do little in the way of preventing snowfall, they did their part to clear away bags full of trash from Grayson Lake State Park on Saturday.
Beginning at 9 a.m., around 130 students traveled to Grayson for the semesterly cleanup project spearheaded by computer information technology Assistant Professor Shawn Brown.
“We want the students to realize the importance of helping to take care of our community,” he said. “Our main campus may be in Ashland, but we have a lot of students from Grayson, too. They’re part of our family.”
Some professors offered students extra credit and bonus points in their classes to those who helped collect trash, including psychology, criminal justice and other technology classes.
Along with trash, several students pitched in to help gather sticks or fallen branches from grassy areas.
“It’s ridiculous that Grayson Lake would have to pay a contractor to come in and pick up branches for them,” he said, explaining the need to remove twigs that could damage lawnmower blades.
“But Grayson Lake is a big area, look at those bags and you see why branches can actually be a big problem,” he said, pointing to a truck bed loaded with black garbage bags overloaded with sticks.
That is what three freshman students, James Hall, Michael Collins and Jessica Bomb, were busy doing under a shaded area near the marina. Though the extra credit incentive strongly motivated them, they admitted helping to care for local facilities is important, too.
Plus, Hall was born on Earth Day, which he said makes him naturally inclined to helping with environmental projects.
Other students worked in different areas, including picking up trash along major roads that run through the park.
“We’re spread out pretty much everywhere,” Bomb said.
Brown said the goal was to fill a large dumpster situated at the mouth of the marina.
He said during the fall cleanups, Marathon Marines takes students on boats to isolated areas of the lake to pick up trash.
“We’re just trying to do our part to give back and help out this beautiful park,” Brown said.
LANA BELLAMY can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2653.