2016 College Creek Clean-up Recap

Hello! Sindhuja back again with another blog about another great, green summer event that supported and connected to Iowa State University’s Live Green! Initiative as well as the City of Ames’ commitment to sustainability. 

One of the projects I got to take part in this summer was the 8th Annual College Creek Clean-up. Like all other projects we take on in The Office of Sustainability, this event was developed as an educational, engagement and empowerment experience for  ISU students, faculty, and staff and the Ames community!

The 8th Annual College Creek Clean-Up was held on Saturday, June 25. For those of you who may not be aware, College Creek is an attractive (but somewhat tucked away and elusive) stream that flows through the heart of Iowa State University’s campus and serves as a vital component of our campus ecosystem. You can also catch it flowing past the Lied Recreational Center, behind the nooks at the Memorial Union, and finally diving under Lincoln Way.

Notably, College Creek acts as a home for a variety of turtle species, tadpoles, fish, insects, birds and even a few mammals. All of them are counting on a clean creek to ensure that their ecosystem is thriving. Like many other waterways, though, College Creek acts as a catch-all point for hundreds of plastic bags, empty bottles and many other items that not only pollute the water, but also the surrounding habitat.

To combat this challenge, an intern in the Office of Sustainability had an idea for the first College Creek Clean-Up. It was so popular that volunteers asked about an event for the following year, and the Clean-Up has been happening annually ever since! 

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Over 50volunteers came ready to participate in this year’s event. Armed with trash pickers, gloves, insect repellant, sunscreen, and loads of trash bags, the dedicated volunteers spent hours cleaning up the creek.

Participants in ISU’s George Washington Scholars program were a particularly joyful group of this year’s volunteers! The George Washington Scholars program offers one hundred full-tuition scholarships to incoming multicultural first year students. It’s a great initiative that helps empower a great group of individuals carrying on the Cyclone legacy.

In total the volunteers from both the community and ISU averaged 125 work hours and collected over 300 pounds of garbage. They trekked through the water, cleaning 1.5 miles of the waterway.

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Some interesting objects were found in the watery depths, including:

  • Bottles
  • Cans
  • Takeaway food containers
  • Lots of plastic bags.
  • A cell phone
  • A part of a bleacher seat
  • A car tire
  • A folding chair
  • Part of a railroad tie

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The Live Green! team thanked for volunteers for their efforts with delicious refreshments from Fighting Burrito (which is a Platinum certified member of the City of Ames Smart Business Challenge), Cookies Etc. and Hy-Vee.

Additionally a number of local businesses provided door prizes, samples, and goodies to allow every volunteer to take home a little extra thank you. These businesses included Arcadia Café, Chocolaterie Stam, Dogtown University, Jax Outdoor Gear, and Worldly Goods.

In addition to thanking our wonderful local business partners, we would like to offer a special thanks to our campus partners who ensured that our volunteers had all the information, support and supplies they needed and that all logistics ran smoothly, including: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Planning and Management, and Student Activities Center and University Relations.


For more of an inside look at this year’s event and to be the first to know about our 9th Annual College Creek Cleanup in 2017, connect to our Facebook Page here!

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