Creek Week returns to UCCS with the 5th annual watershed cleanup

25 September 2018

Alex Dant

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    Creek Week is an upcoming event that utilizes volunteers from Palmer Lake to Pueblo to clean up litter from and around the Fountain Creek Watershed.

    According to the Senior Sustainability Programs Manager, Kimberly Reeves, “Fountain Creek eventually flows into the Arkansas River which then flows, eventually, into the Gulf of Mexico, so by picking it up and making sure we get it before large storms wash everything downstream, it’s really impactful.”

    From Sept. 29 until Oct. 7, the Creek Week event is being held in Fountain Creek, where thousands of people from places like Colorado Springs, Fountain, Monument, Woodland Park, Palmer Lake and Pueblo are coming together to clean up the Fountain Creek Watershed. This is the 5th annual event.

    According to the 2017 Creek Week Summary, when the project started in 2014, there were 42 groups involved, totaling 625 people, who all picked up around 6.8 tons of trash. In the span of four years, the project has grown, with last year resulting in an attendance of 2,592 people, who picked up around 30 tons of trash. In total, the amount of waste collected from this single waterway in the past four years is 60.2 tons.

    For UCCS students, the main event will be held on Oct. 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., meeting at University Hall.

    “We’ll go over a quick safety talk, an overview of what Creek Week is, why it’s beneficial to the community,” says Reeves, “Then we’ll walk down to UCCS’ adopted waterway which is in [the] Templeton Gap Floodplains.”

    According to Reeves, this project’s on-campus involvement has “started fairly small, and then we started partnering with other clubs and organizations, so one year we had a whole fraternity come out and help us. Some of the other years, and this year currently we’re working with Reisher Scholars, and the Daniels Fund scholars, they’re going to be coming out and utilizing this as one of their events.”

    Reeves said that volunteers come from everywhere to be a part of the cleanup, including church groups, non-profits, girl scouts, boy scouts, and even a pre-school and an elementary school.

    “There’s an elementary school in Manitou [and] their entire school goes out for an entire day and picks up trash. There’s even a pre-school that goes out and cleans up their playground area,” says Reeves.

    “Just the idea that taking a few hours out of the year to help clean it up makes a major impact,” Reeves says.

    According to the Creek Week 2017 Survey Summary, there have been high rates of participants planning to return the following year, with around 83 percent of participants in 2016 planning on returning, and in 2017, 77 percent saying that they planned to return to the next year’s cleanup.

    The most important part of this project for students, according to Reeves, is the coordinated effort that all of the community members put together.

    “I also think that knowing this cleanup is the largest in the state of Colorado, so being a part of something that’s even bigger than yourself is pretty cool,” says Reeves.