This Spring and early Summer, we have been truly blessed with plenty of beautiful days and ample rainfall. The day of the clean up at Lake Dardanelle State Park was one of those beautiful days. The past precipitation made the Arkansas River shoreline dense with lush, green vegetation, making some areas even appear tropical!
All the LDSP kayaks had been reserved and I had my canoe, which I call “the barge”, as it is an excellent trash-collecting vessel.
As in the past, I got out of my canoe and went into the thicket, which is where all the trash tends to collect, at the point of the high water mark. I would throw the trash out for those in kayaks, and they would pick it up and put it in the correct bag (we had both trash and recycle bags.) It wasn't long before I heard someone shout, “TIRE!”
We attempted to get an old buoy that was stuck in the mud amongst the weeds, but as we were lifting it up, I heard someone yell, “BEES!” I high-tailed it out of there.
We later found another very large buoy, which was very hard to move. We pushed and pulled it out from the shoreline, not knowing there was also a long, heavy chain attached to it. Since it was impossible to move or cut the chain, we left it for the Coast Guard to retrieve at a later time.
By noon we had collected 9 or so tires and several bags of trash and recyclables.
Everyone then gathered at the park for our lunch of grilled hot dogs, drinks and cookies, while a Russellville Clean & Green representative was handing out goodies.
Awards were then given out, including an award for the strangest piece of trash found, which was a piece of floating Styrofoam with a small plant growing on it!
I received the last award for my continued support and for always bringing my canoe to help with the river clean-ups. As I accepted the award I felt very honored and I am thankful for having received it (and the applause I heard!)
The Master Naturalist program has improved my life in so many positive ways. I especially enjoy the fellowship with others, and I am grateful for the chance to serve our community. I strongly urge anyone, if you are not a member, to please seek-out our group! If you are an inactive member, then get out there and participate!
Remember, you can do whatever you feel physically able to do, to rest frequently, and/or just come to visit! Do this for yourself; do it for your community; do it because improving and beautifying our wonderful Natural State of Arkansas is worth it!
Come on, be one with nature…….and live long and prosper, my friends!
More photos taken by numerous people holding Phil's camera can be seen here.