Live Green! Initiative to clean up College Creek


Jackie Norman/Iowa State Daily

Volunteers gather at College Creek to help the Live Green! initiative and Keep Iowa State Beautiful with taking out the garbage that is in and around the creek. “We had over 50 volunteers sign up and pretty much everyone showed up and even more joined later,” said Paige Myers. Myers recently graduated from Iowa State and is sticking around during the summer to help with projects such as the creek cleanup.

Amber Mohmand

As summer kicks off and fresh-out-of-school students flock to the water, two Iowa State offices are looking to make that water a little cleaner for the community.

Iowa State and Ames community members are invited to volunteer with the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Planning and Management — as part of its “Keep Iowa State Beautiful” initiative — for their annual “College Creek Cleanup.”

The 11th annual College Creek Cleanup will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and volunteers can check-in starting at 9:30 a.m. in the Forker Building parking lot (#50 A). Community members are encouraged to register online and check-in at the Forker Building.

The cleanup is hosted by Live Green! Initiative, an organization which is overseen by the Office of Sustainability and has a goal to educate and reshape habits into sustainable practices. The event will also to celebrate National Rivers Month by picking up trash around the banks of College Creek.

Paige Anson, Live Green! Initiative intern, said the volunteers have also cleaned more than 700 pounds of trash in 2018. Anson said the trash accumulates throughout the year from a combination of the rain bringing it into the creek and when people throwing their garbage into the College Creek.

Merry Rankin, the director of the Office of Sustainability, said the trash removal was a big success for the event in 2018.

“So, of course, getting that pollution out of our environment is an important component and, I think, a great success as well,” Rankin said. “It leaves community looking better and being healthier.”

Rankin said Shannon Draayer, an Iowa State alumna, created the College Creek Cleanup during her internship with AmeriCorps in 2009 and decided to continue the event annually. The service requirement for her internship was to come up with a method of improving and enhancing the community.

“The event went so well that we thought that this could be a fun event — an important and impactful event that we can continue doing,” Rankin said.

Rankin said the College Creek Cleanup helps create a hands-on effort with engaging the Ames and Iowa State Community.

“I think just bringing together everyone towards a common cause that collectively impacts our community — and certainly the future that we want to leave to those that follow us — is really just a great, great experience” Rankin said.

Volunteers are encouraged to wear closed-toed shoes and clothing that can withstand water and mud. Rankin also recommended wearing weather-appropriate clothing, such as long pants and long-sleeve shirts.

Bug repellent, sunscreen, gloves, trash bags and “grabbers” will be provided. The event will also provide giveaway prizes, snacks and beverages to the volunteers.

The event relies on the weather and updates will be added on the Facebook page and website.