Squeaky Clean

Brittney Cottingham

A girl picking up trash and the dried out grounds at Sikes Lake on Saturday. (Photo by Hannah Hofmann)

Everyone from elementary students to MSU students to senior citizens pitched in Saturday morning to beautify Sikes Lake after a blistering summer drought.

The sixth annual clean up broke records this year with over 200 volunteers who collected over 4,000 pounds of trash – 2 tons of refuge.

Last year over 150 volunteers gathered 600 pounds of trash.

“This event keeps getting bigger and better every year,” said Terry McKee, Rolling Plains Chapter president. “It’s nice to know so many people care about our environment and continue to donate their time and effort to keeping the campus clean.”

Since 2005, The Rolling Plains Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have helped MSU to keep the lake surrounding the Wellness Center clean and healthy.

“(Our chapter) decided the Sikes Lake Cleanup would be the perfect service project for our group and something we could do to increase public awareness of the litter problem; as well as involve student volunteers and the public,” McKee said.

McKee said the summer drought actually made the cleanup job not as difficult as expected. The drought impacted the vegetation along the lake, which made it easier to get closer to the perimeter of Sikes, McKee said.

“The drought made it easier to gather litter that collects in the reeds and along the walkways,” McKee said. “It also required more vigilance as some parts of the lake are dry, but were still mucky.”

A lot of the volume was due to the fact that the lake level was so low.

“Volunteers were pulling all kinds of debris from the mud and silt in Sikes Lake itself,” McKee said. “One student even found the hose and nozzle from a gasoline pump.”

MSU supplied the trash bags and labor assistance.

Following the cleanup, the Rolling Plains Chapter members served food and drinks to the volunteers, where they were able to marvel at their accomplishments.

“I can’t believe how much work we got done,” Freshmen Elizabeth Cooper said. “The cleanup is the first time I’ve gotten involved with MSU activities and it definitely makes me want to do more to help out around campus and the community.”

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