By Linda Greer
NEOSHO, Mo. — Paddling to shore with a decaying door from a Hotpoint refrigerator atop his flat-bottom boat, Craig Jones said Saturday was a “great day to be out on the creek.”
Jones and 10 other volunteers spent three hours Saturday gathering trash along an eight-mile stretch of Shoal Creek in Newton County.
Pointing to a rusty metal trap taken from the creek, Jones said, “That would do damage to a toe.”
Stan Carter and his wife, Misty, members of the Shoal Creek Watershed Partnership, organized the cleanup to make people aware of the amount of trash polluting Missouri waterways.
Stan Carter, a Galena, Kan., high school biology and physics teacher, said people should enjoy bringing children to the creek to swim, fish or boat without encountering garbage.
Four boats of volunteers returned to the take-out point at Shoal Kirk, a private retreat near Missouri Highway 59, with the refrigerator door, a rubber raft, metal minnow cage, towels, pillows and beverage cans.
“There were lots of beer cans,” Stan Carter said.
A second cleanup in September also is planned.
Most of the rubbish was gathered near seven access points along the creek or under bridges where motorists threw trash into the water. The trash will be sorted and recycled, he said.
Another volunteer, Linda Phipps, a Galena, Kan., kindergarten teacher, said she does not want the cleanup effort to stop in Neosho. Shoal Creek runs into Kansas, she said.
Jack Andris, education director for the Shoal Creek Watershed Partnership, said the group formed last year and has 15 regular members although 40 to 50 people attend the quarterly meetings.
Andris said he hopes that people using the creek for recreation will not leave trash behind. The group intends to install signs at access points to remind people not to litter, he said.
“You can see that we picked up a lot of stuff in a short time,” Andris added.
The Shoal Creek Watershed Partnership’s mission is to protect, conserve and restore water quality and quantity through scientific and educational programs. For information, write them at P.O. Box 23, Neosho, Mo., 64850, or call Stan Carter at (417) 472-6528.
By Linda Greer
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