Campus cleans up creek for Earth Day

By Erin Lindsay

With rakes and gloves, students will come to clean Boneyard Creek at Scott Park in Champaign Saturday to celebrate Earth Day 2006. With the help of other registered student organizations like Engineers Without Borders and Just.Food, students will finalize two weeks of festivities with an all-day clean up of the creek.

Vice President of Students for Environmental Concerns and sophomore in ACES, Shannon O’Laughlin said Earth Day reflects the group’s everyday goals.

“We’re concerned with making progressive environmental change on campus,” she said. “Everyone wants a clean environment, every organism, every person. We all play a part, we’re trying to raise awareness.”

Kim Erndt, Watershed organizer for the Prairie Rivers Network said the day would involve many activities to help protect Boneyard Creek, which runs through most of Champaign-Urbana.

Students and community members will mark storm drains with “Dump no waste, runs to creek,” as well as pick up trash, remove what Erndt calls “evasive species” such as honey suckle, and put new plants in the ground.

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“We want to build awareness about this stream that’s hidden in our community,” she said. “It’s about protecting and restoring natural amenities, managing storm water and providing a habitat for wildlife.”

Katie Dunne, freshman in LAS and an Illinois Student Senator, said the clean-up is called “Boneyard Creek Community Day” for its participants from all areas and backgrounds of the community.

“It’s a great chance for different RSOs that don’t normally work together to come together with the common goal of service,” she said.

The clean up will begin at 9 a.m. and is sponsored by the University, Champaign-Urbana area Rotary clubs, community members and the park districts.

“They’re in the same mindset, trying to make the world a better place,” O’Laughlin said. “What we’re trying to do is just promote environmental awareness to encourage people to celebrate Earth Day and stress that we all need to care about it.”