It was a rainy wet Monday, but the students of Terri Hoffman's sixth grade class at Sterling Elementary School were undeterred by the elements as they headed out Swanson River road for their annual highway clean up sponsored by Unocal. When the kids returned they had soaked up all the litter along 1.7 miles of Swanson River in just a little more than an hour and a half.
The annual event started three years ago when the students were looking for ways to raise funds for their three day marine ecosystem class at Otter Cove, Unocal agreed to sponsor the special educational event in return for the students participating in the Swanson River Road clean up, "We are very fortunate to have the opportunity that Unocal provides for us, and the highway clean up is our end of the deal. So with the end of the school year only a few days away, we were not going to let the weather put off our end of the deal, so we put on our rain coats and got out there and got it done" said Hoffman.
The students agreed that the trash was a little soggier but that it was still a lot of fun doing the clean up in the rain. "We feel like we're giving back to our community," said Shauna. Michael Griffin found a hubcap that had fallen off someone's car, but said it was mainly bottles, paint balls, and gum wrappers that filled their litter bags, "The rain didn't really matter, and it was just fun being out there with your friends." The kids also agreed that the trip to Otter Cove was one of the best educational trips they had ever taken, "We saw life forms on rocks and under rocks, all kinds of things that live in tidal pools, and lots of birds, some dead birds that had been killed by other birds, and it was really cool," said Michael Forbes. Mrs. Hoffman's students may not remember all of their school days at Sterling Elementary School when they grow up, but judging by the smiles on their faces and the sparkle in their eyes, the trip to Otter Cove and the rainy day clean up will be memories to last a lifetime.
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