Kutztown 6th graders cleaned up the Sacony Creek on April 4, collecting litter and trash for two hours.
“Kutztown is cleaner now,” said 6th grader Michael, with a bulging black bag of trash slung over his shoulder.
“It’s fun helping the environment to stay clean,” said 6th grader Karissa.
Others in her class agreed that it was fun exploring and they liked helping the environment. They found it fun delving into the thickets and wading through the creek to retrieve trash.
Matt Esser, 6th grade science teacher at Kutztown Middle School, saidthe 100 6th grade students walked through or next to the Sacony Creek cleaning up all the trash from the stream bed and neighboring trail.
“It is a fun learning experience for all of my students to give back to the community,” said Esser.
The purpose of the annual spring clean up event, now in its third year, is to spread awareness to all of the students about the trash accumulating in Kutztown and for students to help the community, said Esser.
Five classes participated with 15 adults helping.
“I hope they learn that it’s a lot easier to not pollute to begin with than it is to clean up the pollution and that it can be fun to do community service,” he said.
Esser also hopes the community sees their local children out working and see them having fun at school.
Kutztown Borough Environmental Advisory Commission member Jeri Caroll stopped by during the clean up.
“We really appreciate it,” said Caroll, noting that this spring the creek was particularly littered.
Other groups that have volunteered to clean the Sacony include Kutztown University students.
“It’s been really nice to have it cleaned up.”
Caroll said the Sacony is one of our natural resources.
“It is one of our most prized possessions in Kutztown and it’s the first thing you see when you come into town,” said Caroll. “It’s just nice to keep it clean for everybody in the community.”
Sixth grade social studies teacher Jennifer McAteer said it’s great to get the students outside in the fresh air.
“They’re doing some good for the community but obviously they are also having a good time,” she said. “They’re pretty excited.”
McAteer hopes the students learn to work together and learn that helping their community can be fun.
When asked about the importance of students learning about doing something for the environment and the community, she said, “I think we all have to be responsible citizens, good stewards, and it’s never to soon to teach them that.”