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Rainy Saturday doesnt deter students from stream cleanup effort
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Students from Enota Elementary School gathered Saturday morning at Rock Creek Stream to participate in the Adopt-A-Stream cleanup event.

“This is part of the Rivers Alive project, which is a statewide project to clean river and lake areas,” said Deidre Leckie, an Enota parent, who is also a board member with Keep Hall Beautiful.

The event was originally planned for earlier this fall but had to be canceled because of the rain and flooding in Gainesville. The second attempt to have the cleanup was also canceled due to the weather, which made Enota parents and teachers a little worried about Saturday’s rain.

“Because we’ve had to cancel twice for rain before, I’m worried that people are going to let the weather keep them away and assume that we’re canceling again,” said Audrey Thornton, a fourth-grade teacher at Enota Elementary.

Despite the gloomy weather, the kids were ready to go. All students from Enota Elementary were invited to the event.

Meg Thornton, a fifth-grader at Enota Elementary, was prepared to help clean up the stream.

Meg is the secretary of the student council at Enota and enjoys going to community events.

Meg said that it is good for kids to attend such events so that when they grow up, they will know how to do things like this.

This was the first time that Enota Elementary participated in a cleanup event. For helping out, each student was given a toy frog named “Freddy the Frog.”

“We’re trying to do this event to help the children realize that there is more to Gainesville than just our school,” Thornton said.

Kevin Finney, an environmental specialist II with the city of Gainesville, was scouting the area to find good places for kids to pick up trash.

Finney advised the students that since it had been raining, they needed to be careful and walk, not run, along the trail.

“When picking up trash, always have your gloves on,” Finney said to the kids who were putting on blue or green clean-up gloves.

“You don’t want to pick up leaves; they stay on the ground,” Finney said.

“You want to pick up candy wrappers, bottles, cans, old ketchup packs and old cups that people have thrown out.”

Finney told the kids that if anything was embedded in the stream, they should leave it there because it was already a part of the habitat.

The city of Gainesville is working toward reducing pollution in the area.

“Teaching kids about that will not only get them to be proactive when cleaning up the environment but it also teaches them that it is not ‘out of sight and out of mind’ any more,” Finney said.

“In the city of Gainesville, our storm drains lead straight to our streams, which lead straight to our lake, which is our drinking water source.”

Leckie also believes that it is important for kids to learn about the environment.

“I think they are taught at an early age to get involved in community service projects,” Leckie said.

“Obviously, our community depends on volunteers to do these kinds of things.”

Leckie said that every little thing that anyone does makes a difference.

“The more people that you have involved, the bigger impact you are actually going to be able to make on the environment,” Leckie said.
Regional events