Clean the Stream event to be held April 23

Cambrea Schrank 

chall2@uccs.edu 

     Every year since 1970, on April 22, we celebrate Earth Day — a day of action dedicated to improving our local environment and community. In observance of Earth Day, the UCCS Office of Sustainability is hosting the Clean the Stream event to help make our Colorado Springs community a better and cleaner place.  

     UCCS students, faculty and staff are invited on Friday, April 23 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. to help clean up the Templeton Gap Floodway.  

     Interim Director of Sustainability Kimberly Reeves and Sustainability Coordinator Annabelle Nippe said in an email, “UCCS adopted a segment of the creek through the City of Colorado Springs’ adopt-a-waterway cleanup program. Three times a year, we invite volunteers to help us cleanup this precious resource.” 

     UCCS has been a partner in the Colorado Springs Adopt-a-Waterway program since 2010.   

     “We usually have [about] 25 volunteers who pick up more than 30 bags of trash plus large items like grocery carts, bikes and other miscellaneous items,” Reeves and Nippe wrote.  

     In the past, UCCS has extended this invitation to family members and outside community members, but due to COVID-19 guidelines, only UCCS students, faculty and staff are able to join this year. 

     Regarding the impact of this event on the environment, Reeves and Nippe wrote, “Our local, 927 square mile Fountain Creek Watershed empties into the Arkansas River at Pueblo, CO and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. The work that we do to clean-up our section of creek supports our community and all the communities downstream.”  

     Reeves and Nippe said that they would love to see a reduction of trash thrown out of car windows, littered on walks and left at outside events. “The items we continue to see are cigarette butts, fast food containers, and food wrappers.” 

     “In terms of the volunteer feeling success, these types of clean-ups always make a volunteer feel really good afterwards. Whether you focused on collecting micro-trash, like cigarette butts, or pulled a large item out of the waterway, you have a visual representation of the good you did that day,” they wrote. “Plus, getting out and walking and talking with new and old friends is half the fun! Most of the time, we’re also introducing a new connection to campus since the greenway trail leads to Palmer Park.”  

     Reeves and Nippe shared some individual tips for promoting a cleaner environment year-round: “Even at home, make sure to put your trash in a bag. That way the small pieces don’t fall out of your trash can or the trash truck. And take one step further, and reduce the number of single-use items you purchase. If you have a reusable snack bag, it goes back in your pocket, backpack or purse and back home instead of trying to find a trash can.”  

     The Clean the Stream event is capped at 25 participants this year.   

     Before you volunteer, read the UCCS Waiver and send an email to st-sus14@uccs.edu with your emergency contact information. This email serves as your electronic signature to the waiver. All steps must be completed before Monday, April 19 at 5 p.m. No walk-up volunteers may participate due to COVID-19 guidelines. 

     Before the event, students will need to take the UCCS Return to Campus Wellness Check, bring a mask or face-covering to wear during the clean-up, wear closed-toe shoes (long pants encouraged), bring a water bottle and apply sunscreen.   

     RSVP and volunteer instructions can be found at the UCCS Sustainability website.  

     This is a PIPs event for students and applies to the PIPs Scholarship Challenge for the month of April.  

Image courtesy of UCCS Sustainability Website