Weather Dampens Student Clean-up Effort

Written by Robert Herrington
Saturday, 19 April 2008

Although the numbers were down and the weather was quite different than last year's inaugural Keep Noblesville Beautiful event, Approximately 30 Noblesville High School students volunteered their Saturday morning to help clean-up Indiana 37.

Senior Wesley Bremer has participated in the clean-up project both years. He attended last year's event because a lot of his friends were doing it.

"I just wanted to duplicate the experience from last year," he said.

NHS senior Laura Behrends said she volunteered because "I like to help the environment." Behrends said that unlike last year's group of students, they did not find any unique items discarded along the highway.

"Just lots of Styrofoam," she said.

The students met at the high school early Saturday morning and worked along the sides of Indiana 37, north of Conner Street, picking up garbage and left filled trash bags for the city to pick up. They avoided cleaning the median due to safety reasons.

Both of the seniors were amazed at the amount of trash once they began to walk along picking up items.

"I never realized it was this trashed as I drive by. There's lots of small stuff," Behrends said.

"I was surprised," said Bremer. "I thought it'd be worse than it was."

While weather conditions were ideal during last year's project, rain and wind caused the group to call it quits early Saturday.

"I wish we could have stayed out the whole time," said Behrends. "It would have made a bigger difference."

Noblesville High School students and teacher Bill Kenley, top row in faded red hat, smile for a picture after the group returned back to the high school from cleaning up Indiana 37 Saturday morning. All of the students volunteered to help pick up and bag trash as part of Keep Noblesville Beautiful.

"It was OK, but it kinda took away from it (the experience) because you were worried about getting wet," Bremer added.

NHS English teacher Bill Kenley, who serves as a committee member for Keep Noblesville Beautiful, added that the weather only dampened the ground and not the student's spirits.

"It added to the thrill," he said. "Once they start picking up trash, they get focused. We got enough done to feel like we've accomplished something."

Kenley said one item that all the volunteers found an abundance of were cigarette butts.

"It's like one per square foot," he said.

The cleanup provides a chance for students to beautify their community and receive and education.

"The kids learn how much junk people throw out of there vehicles," said Kenley. "I think it�ll provide a healthy disgust for people who throw trash out of their car windows."

Kenley said that currently the project is done in the spring time because "it's a time of tiding up." While the need is there, Kenley said he may look into possibly adding a fall event if the students' desire is there.

"(Indiana) 37 is just so filthy. If we worked every weekend the next two months, it would start to make a dent," he said. "I think 37 needs it as bad as anything. It's a big road with lots of junk."

The project began last year after Kenley wanted to provide an opportunity to help seniors and Noblesville.

NHS seniors elected to participate in 13 hours of community service to replace two days of school missed earlier that semester because of snow. That decision allowed the school to keep com-mencement on June 1 without students having to attend classes after that date.

"When I heard they had all those hours, I thought we ought to provide an opportunity for the kids," Kenley said.

Last year, more than 175 NHS students joined together to volunteer their Saturday morning to help beautify a 4 mile stretch of Indiana 37 through the heart of Noblesville. Combined they contributed more than 600 hours of community service. Kenley estimated that 75 percent of the students were seniors.