By Jim Newell
Students from the Lake Orion High School Science National Honor Society spent a portion of Sunday afternoon cleaning up in and around the banks of Paint Creek, doing their part to help preserve the health of the river’s ecosystem.
Now, if they could just others to help out by using the waste receptacles in the parks.
The eight students from the biology committee trolled the shorelines from Children’s Park through Meeks Park, cleaning up the banks, ducking under tree branches and carefully stepping over rocks along the shoreline and pulling debris out of the river itself.
“It was a complete success, with a total of 81 pounds of debris and litter picked up,” said junior Nick Vines, chairman of the LOHS Science National Honors Society Biology Committee.
There was a lot of the litter one would expect: paper, plastic, water bottles, a hot dog tray, cigarette butts.
Some of the more interesting things the students found in the river were waterlogged golf balls, a child’s winter coat, a book and a Disney toy of the character Moena on a raft.
And an eight foot metal post for a street sign. Nick just shook his head when he saw that.
The students need 10 service hours as part of their NHS requirements, but as science and biology students they are also concerned about their local ecosystem.
“We all take pride in our environment around us, especially here in downtown Lake Orion. We all live in Lake Orion. So, we just want to clean up the place. It’s a Sunday afternoon, it’s really busy…everyone just wants to enjoy water, make it a little more pristine. Just make it look better, make the whole place more enjoyable,” Nick said.
Nick is also a river steward for the Clinton River Watershed Council, conducting sets of research twice a year for the council.
“The biology committee, that’s life. You might think, ‘How does a clean river have anything to do with that?’ The less pollution in the river means healthier bugs, healthier fish, healthier people who eat the fish. It’s the whole ecosystem; the healthier the water, the healthier the life,” he said.
The science students had planned to clean up weeks ago, but weather and availability didn’t align.
“We were supposed to do it back in February during that big warmup that we had and everyone’s been waiting for the past month-and-a-half to do it,” Nick said.
The biology committee students are in advanced placement (AP) classes and have been studying ecosystem health but, with school officially being suspended across the state on Monday because of the Coronavirus pandemic, this is the last time the biology committee will meet for a while.
“We’re going to bog down on homework over the next two weeks then we’re probably going to go and work with Michigan DNR too, now that we’ve got some free time,” Nick said.
For more photos see the March 18 issue of The Lake Orion Review.