April 21, 2010

Garden Gate kids gettin' down & dirty on the River!!!

Educational River Trip and Clean-up
with Garden Gate School

Katfish Katies, Huntsdale MO
April 20th, 2010

Total Volunteers (students & parents): 22
MRR Captains & Crew: 4
Boats: 2
River Miles: 3
River Level: 12.7 ft
Landfill Tons: .29 tons
Tires: .045 tons
Total Tonnage: .3 Tons or 600 lbs of Trash!

Yesterday the Garden Gate School students & parents joined Missouri River Relief for an educational boat ride on the river and a river clean-up! A few weeks back, our Program Manager Steve Schnarr was able to go to their school and give a fun presentation on what our organization does, and what they could expect to see on their river trip in the weeks ahead.

It was a perfect & calm Spring day! The morning started out pretty cool but clear, by 10:30 a.m. the sun was blazing and the layers started peeling off as we life jacketed up the kids and prepared a short discussion & safety talk about the river.

Next we loaded up the boats and set off upstream of the Katfish Katies boat ramp. Not long after motoring up stream, boat capatin Jeff Barrow pointed up to a large dead tree, it wasn't hard to see what he was trying to show us, sitting regal in near his nest was brother eagle, who bravely did not budge as we slowed for a closer look.

Moving on we came upon a boat of our National Fish & Wildlife Service friends doing Pallid Sturgeon sampling. We were able to watch them pull their lines in for a closer look at these ancient fish that still inhabit this great muddy river.

As our boat headed upriver to look at the petroglyphs left by the Indians many years ago & the spring running out beneath the great Manitou Bluffs, our second boat got waived closer by the fish & wildlife guys who apparently gave a wonderful presentation on their river studies and were able to show the kids a few of the large fish they caught that morning for an even closer up front view.

Well it didn't take long before everyone started getting hungry. So we motored back downstream to the little island just across from Katfish Katies we like to call Airplane Island. The shoes came flying off & a warm sunny picnic lunch was devoured on this gorgeous little sand bar. Afterwards, the kids got to wander around the little island, dipping there toes in the water, building sand castles, finding bugs & trash, & doing their typical kids in nature things. It was fun to watch.

After a bit though, the kids all wanted to get wet & go swimming, so we rounded them up & headed just across the river to a young willow thicket that we knew always gets trapped with tons of trash! We spent maybe an hour gettin' down & dirty with the Garden Gate kids & made a pretty good haul!

Trash Tally!!!!

10 large blue Stream Team bags filled with mostly plastic bottles - soda bottles, anti-freeze jugs, motor oil bottles etc.
6 small mesh Stream Team bags
3 Tires
1 blue 55 gallon Plastic Barrel
1 30-gallon brown Plastic Tub
1 very large Tent that had to be dug out of the mud
an assortment of Balls – basketballs, baseballs, tennis balls, golf balls footballs, etc.
at least 3 Six-Pack Rings (that I personally picked up, there may have been more!!)
1 5-gallon plastic Paint Bucket
1 5-gallon metal Varnish Can
1 Light Bulb
1 long florescent Light Tube
1 plastic Milk Crate
1 plastic Plant Tray
1 dead Turtle

photos & text by Melanie Cheney

A huge thanks to a really fun, good natured, and inquisitive group of students & parents yesterday, we had a blast showing them our beloved river, and introducing them to what is likely to be many new river adventures ahead!

To see more photos about this fun river outing, check out our Flickr Photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8478409@N03/sets/72157623780900515/

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