Stream Team puts focus on cleaning up local environment

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Sophomore Lily Hovorka, junior Lauren Kreisel, sophomore August Nickles, juniors Jaelyn Swisher, Chloe Kaneaster, senior Jesse Hensley, freshman Vision Shaw and junior Breanna Shaw come together before a cleanup for Stream Team. Stream Team has performed various cleanups in the local area to improve the condition of the environment and lower the level of pollution.

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In a day and age where the planet seems to be more polluted than ever, a group of students have taken up the challenge of fighting the pollution. The Stream Team, though currently inactive due to the winter weather, dedicated several hours of their time to clean up the environment and preserve nature’s beauty.
The areas that they have cleaned so far have mainly been in town, cleaning up Drake Harbor three times, the city boat ramp, the city docks, a disc golf course, and the local bike trails.
Science teacher Daniel Waller took on the position as sponsor for the school’s Stream Team during the 2018-19 school year and added a new team to the 6,047 teams in Missouri that are dedicated to cleaning the 110,000 miles of streams inside the state.
“[Stream Team] is something that I always wanted to do and I always thought that it was needed around here,” Waller said.
When the club first began, there were very few people that continuously showed up to help clean up the environment on the scheduled day. However, the new year brought new members to the group to speed up the process when they went out to clean.
“Last year, when we started doing this, I had like three people over and over again, the same three people, that’s it,” Waller said, “this year the smallest amount we had was like eight but it’s usually between 15 and 20 so it’s a pretty good turnout which is sweet because instead of being there for an hour with eight people, if there’s 20 you’re there for 20 minutes and you’re done.”
Many of the members who joined were driven to do so for their love of the environment and wanting to become more involved in school.
“I like the environment, I like being around the lake and stuff and I don’t really like seeing trash all over the place. So, when the Stream Team came up, I was like, ‘This is something that I can get behind, it’s something cool, it’s something that helps the environment,’” sophomore Sam Waters said. “Stream Team wasn’t too much manual labor, it was something you could do with a friend by your side and talk, it wasn’t that hard, it wasn’t that difficult and it makes somewhat of a difference, even if it isn’t that big.”
“[I joined] because high school is the best four years of your life and if you aren’t involved in any of the school’s stuff then you’re not going to be having the best four years of your life,” junior Breanna Shaw said.
Waller teaches an ecology class at the school and preaches about the dangers of pollution and the effects it will have on future generations if nothing is done about it.
“I think pollution in general will be a huge thing in your guys’ lifetimes, especially because we’re killing our oceans and we’re cutting down our forests,” Waller said. “First semester of ecology talks lots and lots about different ecosystems, different types of life, our earth, all that kind of stuff. Second semester pretty much all we’re going to talk about is saving the planet type solutions stuff so, yeah, ecology hits [on pollution] a lot.”
The members of Stream Team also feel strongly about the environment and the dangers of pollution.
“People are treating [the world] like trash nowadays and if we don’t have a clean world then we don’t have anything,” Shaw said.
“[Cleaning the environment] is important because if we don’t, our environment is going to start dying and if it dies we won’t be able to survive off of it,” Waters said, “I [also] like walking through the woods, I like seeing the lake in a beautiful manner and if that all goes away we lose so much joy and it’s a beautiful place and I don’t think we should lose it [because] it’s not really ours to lose.”
In order to fight the loss of nature, Waller has plans to grow the Stream Team and add more activities to their schedule. They plan to plant some trees to commemorate Earth Day on April 22.
“Right now we just pick up trash around riverways, around roads, stuff like that. We cleaned up a bunch of trash that was left by the floods on the bike trails,” Waller said, “but eventually we’ll do lots more stuff like replant some places that have been eroded away, clean up rivers like Edwards Creek, and see how that goes.”