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  • Writer's pictureOur Shared Waters

Cleaning up Mother Earth

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

This article was originally posted on River Reporter.

You’ve got to be kidding me! Sullivan West students and the school’s National Honor Society co-advisor join forces to drag a rotting mattress up over the embankment by the Basket Creek Bridge. ....In action: Freshman Peter March, NHS advisor Billy Templeton; Dylan Sager a junior. Henry Simon is pictured in the background... 📷 RR photo by Ted Waddell

LONG EDDY, NY — On Saturday, April 24, a group of Sullivan West students from the high school’s National Honor Society (NHS) and members of the student council turned out in force to help clean up the Upper Delaware River Valley.

The litter pluck was part of the Upper Delaware Council’s (UDC) inaugural Upper Delaware Litter Sweep, an innovative idea to involve local communities and civic-minded individuals to pick up tons of roadside and river’s edge trash, made all the more visible once the winter’s snowpack had receded with the springtime melt.

In celebration of Earth Day Week (April 17-24), folks throughout the Upper Delaware River corridor scavenged the area for trash during an event that had to be postponed from last year due to the pandemic.

“The Sullivan West National Honor Society is committed to helping our community in as many ways as possible,” said NHS advisor Billy Templeton, noting that in past years, the chapter has held fundraising events for local organizations including Ride2Survive Sullivan County and the Delaware Youth Center.

“This event provided our members with an opportunity to collaborate with the larger community in a new way that benefits everyone who calls this region home,” he said. “The Delaware River is an integral part of our lives and our members are excited to improve the environment.”

The Sullivan West high school students who participated in the UDC and Sullivan West NHS Chapter’s litter sweep are Dylan Sager, Samantha Everett, Gabrielle Cohn, Paige Parucki, Abigail Parucki, Sofia Seidl, Georgeanne Cardona, Henry Simon, Ryan Joyce-Turner, Karl Swanson, Cheyenne Decker, Peter March, Regan Russell, Amanda Dirig, Jacob Hess and Jake Nystrom.

Faculty members on the scene were NHS advisors Billy Templeton and Maureen Casey-Bryant, along with student council advisor Patrick Miraglia.

Sullivan West’s NHS Chapter President Taylor Allen said earlier, “The members of NHS are those of strong character, outstanding service and valiant leadership in multiple spheres of their lives... bettering our community for ourselves and the rest of the community perfectly aligns [with] and strengthens the values that NHS have pledged to support.”

Abigail Gaebel, chapter treasurer and student member of the board of education, said, “As humans of this planet, [we all share] a common bond... that Earth is our treasured home. The Earth supplies us with shelter, food, beauty and endless treasures. It’s only right that humans take care of this planet.”

On Saturday, the students and faculty leaders met at the Basket Creek fishing access and split up into teams. They picked up trash at the access and across the creek by the Long Eddy side of the bridge, eventually working their way down to the banks of the pristine water as it flows into the Upper Delaware River.

At the end of the day, it wasn’t a bad haul: 15 bags of trash, including a discarded porno tape still in its original box, although slightly worn by time and weather, along with a soggy mattress somebody tossed over the bridge, a lonesome flat tire, a burned-out oil furnace motor, and more cans and bottles of beer and soda than an average human could presumably drink in a year.


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