Recently, the Ross Medical Education Center campus in Lafayette, Indiana volunteered with the Tippecanoe County Partnership for Water Quality to DeTrash the Wabash! The Ross Lafayette campus chose to spend time picking up trash from areas surrounding the Wabash River alongside 200+ other volunteers from the local community.
What makes picking up trash near the Wabash River so important? The Wabash River, which starts in Ohio, is Indiana’s state river and forms part of the state’s western border. The river then joins up with the Ohio River, eventually meeting with the Mississippi River, which then makes its way out to the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico has been determined to have one of world’s highest concentrations of plastic, but by the Lafayette community picking up trash at the Wabash, a small dent is being made.
To the 150 species of birds that call the Wabash River area home, including herons, swans, and even bald eagles, this is no small dent! Reintroduction and efforts to keep the river clean, including DeTrash the Wabash, have helped native river otters thrive there, which were just removed from the Indiana Endangered Species list in 2005.
“While picking up trash may not sound fun, our students found some unique items while cleaning up,” said Campus Director Tim Hula about the event. “At the end of the day, every group shared an unusual find – some of which included 25 golf balls, a one dollar bill, large strips of carpet, and one group found miscellaneous animal bones. This was my first time volunteering for this kind of event…I am proud to say I cleaned up my hometown! Pay it forward!”
Career Service Representative Steph Miller shared, “it was really cool to come together as a group and help clean up our own community. There were so many volunteers and a huge pile of garbage was collected, but I look forward to having any even larger turnout next year.” Through all of their hard work, the campus was able to contribute to the over two tons of garbage picked up, making the DeTrash the Wabash a great success.