Chesapeake students to clean up park

June 19, 1994|By Jody Roesler | Jody Roesler,Special to The Sun

For nine seniors at Chesapeake High School, graduation day didn't mean an end of their commitment to the school's Environment Club.

The nine former students and 13 underclassmen are leaving today for Swallow Falls State Park in Garrett County to help clear damage caused by the harsh winter weather and by hikers.

"I think the kids are remarkable because they have jobs or would go to Ocean City, but instead they come back for this," said Thomas Barnicoat, a physics teacher at Chesapeake.

The group will clear trash, fishing line and tree branches from the trails, which run along the Youghiogheny River in Swallow Falls.

Mr. Barnicoat and his wife, biology teacher Ginny Barnicoat, run the club and will chaperon the trip.

"We called a lot of state parks in Maryland and Virginia and decided that this one needed us the most," Mr. Barnicoat said. "They got hit hard by the ice storms over the winter, and the trails are just littered with tree branches and debris."

"Rangers are going to have to come with chain saws and help us clear these trails," added Mrs. Barnicoat.

Fifteen rented vans are taking the club members on their weeklong trip, which will be filled with long hours of back-breaking work.

"Work isn't all we're going to do there," Cortney Clulow, 17, said. "We also plan to canoe and hike."

Astronomy teacher Paul Miller also is going. He will lead an informal seminar on the heavens tomorrow night.

Some lucky soul will attempt to teach the art of basic camp cooking.

"Most of these kids have never even cooked before, outside of a microwave, and now they will be cooking for 25 on a camping stove. It will really be quite an experience," Mrs. Barnicoat said.

The Environment Club, which has been in existence for two years, has become an important outlet for students looking to make a difference, its members say.

"Being in the club really gives us a sense that we're helping the Earth," said Wendy Pugh, 18.

The club has cleaned up the stream that runs behind the school. "There were washing machines, stoves, refrigerators and lawn mowers in there, along with other trash," said Ms. Pugh.

Then they tested the water quality of the stream, which was surprisingly good. "The washing machine kept it clean," Ms. Pugh joked.

On Earth Day, the group cleaned the storm drains and, with the help of Chesapeake Middle School students, painted "Don't dump -- Chesapeake Bay drainage" on them.

They also led 500 students in planting bushes and flowers and filling more than 100 bags with trash from the high school grounds.

"When we take 500 kids out to pick up trash, like we did on Earth Day, that's 500 kids that are now aware of the trash lying around," Mr. Barnicoat said.

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