Unocal springs for clean up

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2002

A creative partnership with Teri Hoffman's 5th & 6th grade students at Sterling Elementary School has been a double win for the community. Ms. Hoffman was already thinking spring last fall when she approached Unocal Alaska with an idea to fund a class field trip to Otter Cove Science Center across Kachemak Bay.

The idea was that in exchange for funding the field trip, the kids would do a spring clean up along Swanson River Rd. "Our contributions committee thought it was a great idea, a good way to help the students in Ms. Hoffman's class fund an educational field trip while providing the kids with an opportunity to give something back to their community," said Greg Merle, Unocal's lead operator at the Swanson River facility.

A $3,800 grant from Unocal Alaska made the trip possible earlier this spring. The students made the two-night, three-day trip to Otter Cove where they experienced marine science, beach ecology and a variety of subjects from on site field biologists, "The kids were busy constantly for three days straight, it was a remarkable educational experience for them," said Ms. Hoffman.


April Heffner, Megan Revis, Kevin Garske, and Daniel Geller, of Sterling Elementary School pick up trash along Swanson River Rd.

Some of the students were also excited about a day outside the classroom even if it was to pick up trash along the road, "It helps the community, but littering is really bad and I wish people wouldn't do it," commented one 5th grader. Another student said she thought it was great to get out of the classroom and when asked to describe their teacher Ms. Hoffman, they all agreed, "She is wicked awesome!"

After hiking nearly two miles and filling up a lot of trash bags, the students took a time out at Dolly Varden Lake. In all the teams made up of some 23 kids and adults managed to clean up over 10 miles of road.

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