By Meg Peters
Lake Orion High School sophomore Madeline Braley is not only one of the first youth volunteers on the Orion Township Environmental Resources Committee (ERC), she is also the creator of the first ever Orion Community Green-Up.
This Saturday, May 14, Braley, along with her crew of volunteers, will take on projects throughout Orion Township to make the community just a little bit greener.
Volunteers can check in between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Camp Agawam, 1301 W. Clarkson Rd., to receive their project assignments, with a lunch donated by Hollywood Markets planned for noon.
As part of her Greener Orion campaign, the first ever Green-Up will include several different kinds of projects targeting three specific areas: the Village of Lake Orion, the Orion Township Public Library, and Camp Agawam. Some of her ideas include invasive species removal, building a butterfly garden at the library, and cleaning up Children’s Park, the Paint Creek River, and other areas of the downtown.
Her word selection is key. The Green-up is meant to incite positive, environmental change.
“If we said ‘cleanup’ maybe people would think, ‘oh it’s just cleaning up trash,’” she said.
But it’s not. Although trash will be cleared, her hopes for the day’s activities are to cultivate a greener Orion by coming together as a community.
Several organizations are pitching in to help out in her cause. The Lake Orion Lake Association (LOLA) has volunteered to clean up the Paint Creek River from the Lake Orion dam to the Orion Art Center, as well as the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Public Launch site on Indianwood Rd.
Local business Birmingham Sealcoat is also sending out its employees and their families to volunteer the day of the event.
“Most of my employees are from Lapeer, Oxford and Orion, so what better way to give back to the community that gives us all our work, keeps us busy and provides for our families?” owner Ryan Austin, , who shares the business with his brother Mark, said.
The township has been divided into 18 zones, and Orion Township Parks Director Aaron Whatley is looking to have projects completed in each one.
“We need projects,” he said. “We are trying not to focus a ton of our efforts on township parks because it is a community cleanup.”
Any suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or posted on the Facebook page Community Green-up.
Orion Township officials have helped bring Braley’s plan to life.
Her idea took off after sitting in on a few ERC meetings.
“A lot of the time I didn’t really know what they were talking about, and a lot of their stuff didn’t really apply to me, so I figured I would do something that would apply to the different residents of the community,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to, it sounds cheesy, but just make a difference.”
Braley is recruiting students from the high school and contacting other organizations around the community to help pitch in.
Interested parties can sign up on the Facebook page, ‘Community Green-Up’, with the Sign Up tool at the top of the page.
By Meg Peters