| Teagan Papke

AXL Academy’s Trash Roundup

Tires, bottles, and buckets are some of the things AXL Academy students cleaned up! Written by Cottonwood Field Instructor Eeland Stribling

AXL student picking up trashAs part of their CAP Action Project, AXL Academy students went looking for places to clean up near their school. The community does a great job at keeping parks and trails clean, and students were determined to clean up a natural area. We landed at Front Range Trail, along Sand Creek. The class set a goal of collecting 6 bags of trash, in total.

The students split into three groups, with an instructor as a supporter. Each group
would collect 2 bags of trash. The groups had a lot of energy, with one group even bringing a soccer ball! After the groups were designated, the instructors explained the rules and how to stay safe. Safety was the most important priority of the day. Instructors provided trash pickers, and the students favored these clean-up items. We made clear that no one was to touch, move, or pick up any broken glass, needles, or drug paraphernalia. Gloves were mandatory! Students could choose between latex gloves or garden gloves. Once everyone understood how to stay safe, it was time to clean!

AXL students picking up trashThe first cleanup duration was an hour and a half. All three groups had a different strategy. One group went the furthest, another group cleaned the edge of the dried marsh area, and the third group cleaned inside the marsh area. Each group had multiple strategies for picking up trash. Some left the bags in a spot and brought trash back while others had designated people holding the trash bags and others picking up the trash. The students collected and filled two bags!

AXL student picking up trashLunch under the gazebo was a nice break from the sunny weather! We had school lunches and refilled water bottles after hard work. Once lunch ended, the group had another burst of energy to return to their cleanup spots and continue cleaning! For the students who felt accomplished enough, there were whittling knives to whittle sticks and a soccer ball to play a game. Some students even took advantage of the newly cleaned areas to play a game of camouflage! Other students continued collecting more trash and even found a tire!

The park rangers took notice of the group’s efforts and stopped by to thank the students. When all the trash was placed together, the students took turns weighing the collected bags. They had filled 12 whole trash bags plus trash that didn’t fit inside a bag, like a tire, a bucket, a car panel, and big styrofoam. The total weight of all trash collected was about 132 pounds!

12 bags of collected trash plus a tire!The students not only met the goal they set for themselves but exceeded it. On the way home, students were sharing the fun they had and asking about the opportunity to do it again!

Categories: Action Projects, AXL Academy, CAP, Program News

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