Students from Westfield State University teamed up with the nonprofit organization Westfield River Watershed Association and Lane Construction in the Earth Day river-cleanup on April 26. The team met up on Meadow Street in Westfield, Massachusetts in the River Walk Lot at 9 a.m. before separating to different locations across the city.
A professor of environmental biology at Westfield State University, Mark Damon, came to the event and encouraged his students to come as well. He pointed a few of his students to the route 20 bridge section of the city, because when it was last checked there were many large items polluting the environment. The students were encouraged to collect the trash at the end of the pavement, under the bridge, and the tires on the other side of the bridge.
A team of six students from Westfield State University went to the route 20 bridge section of the city. There were four students from Professor Damon’s class and two other students who wanted to help. The students who were in the environmental biology class taught by Professor Damon were Heather Giguere, a sophomore education major, Megan Barr, a sophomore studying communications, Taylor Cordeiro, a sophomore studying education, and Ashley Ruubel, a freshman education major.
The Westfield River Watershed Association has been very active in the community since the early 1950s. The goals of the organization are to make a better place to live by restoring nature to its natural state and to protect wildlife, fish, forest, plants, soil, and water sources. They also want to work hand-in-hand with people to inform others of the importance of their cause. If you wish to know more or volunteer, their website is www.westfieldriver.org.
The Westfield River Association treasurer, Fran Siska, said during the event on Saturday, “I’ve pulled tires out of the river, cars, and you name it!” The organization is very passionate and dedicated to making Westfield and the surrounding area a beautiful and desirable place to live.
Christian DiLuzio, a veteran and political science major, came to help in the Earth Day river cleanup efforts. He has been helping in these Earth Day cleanups for years and feels a passion and a commitment to keep doing things that will help the community. DiLuzio said concerning work on the route 20 bridge section of the city with his classmates, “Westfield State students have a long tradition of community service and it was nice to be a part of it.” Christian DiLuzio, Heather Giguere, Megan Barr, Ashley Ruubel, and Taylor Cordeiro worked very hard together on a very rainy day. In spite of that, the students came together for a good cause and worked very well together, showing that Westfield State University is deeply concerned with the environment.
Heather Giguere said while picking up trash, “It was great to see so many people working together to make the community beautiful.” Tyler Cordeiro expressed concern by saying, “I wish people would think before they dumped trash.” People like Tyler Cordeiro are making things happen, by taking action to protect the environment.
The biggest challenge of the day was the tires, which were on the other side of the bridge. The tires were full of dirt, water, and covered in weeds. The weeds made it very difficult to reach the tires. Once the tires were freed from the wooded area, it took some effort to get them to the end of the pavement on the other side of the bridge. The end of the pavement was the location that was instructed by the team to gather all the waste for a later pickup. Once all the visible tires were recovered, the team had a sense of accomplishment and cheered in excitement.
The students that worked the Earth Day river cleanup on the route 20 bridge section of the city have something to cheer about, for they gathered 19 tires, 10 pallets, 2 broken televisions, well over 20 bags of trash, a few empty paint cans, 5 ten gallon buckets of plaster, 5 broken plastic lawn chairs, 5 sofa cushions, and many other items to be thrown into the garbage. It was a great day, an Earth Day river cleanup that will be remembered, because students from Westfield State University made an impact in the community.