Genesee's Earth Club Volunteer as Oatka Creek Clean Up Crew

Volunteers Gather 190 Pounds of Trash

Students in Genesee Community College’s Earth Club have kicked off the 2009-2010 academic year with their first group service project, an Oatka Creek Clean Up. On Saturday, September 26 the Earth Club along with other volunteers covered one and a half miles of the Oatka Creek Park on Union Street in the town of Wheatland. The Creek Clean Up is part of a national initiative sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup and the American Littoral Society’s Annual New York State Beach Clean Up.

Students and volunteers broke into teams, with each team equipped with a data recording card and a trash bag. Teams trekked to locations along the creek and recorded the trash as it was picked up. At the end of the day, the trash was totaled and weighed. The volunteers collected eight bags of trash, totally 190 pounds of debris. Items collected included construction waste, food wrappers, bottles and cans, tires and even an old suitcase. The data will be compiled and will be sent into the national Coastal Clean-up organizers. Each creek clean up participant received a certificate of participation and appreciation from Northeast Chapter of the American Littoral Society.

“It is amazing how in as little as four hours a group of students and volunteers can make a huge difference in the quality of life in our region,” Maureen Leupold, Earth Club member and associate professor of Biology at Genesee said. “It was also wonderful to see the students come together on a beautiful Saturday morning to share experiences that could lead to life-long friendships.”

The Ocean Conservancy is the world's foremost advocate for the oceans. Through science-based advocacy, research, and public education, they inform, inspire and empower people to speak and act on behalf of healthy oceans. Ocean Conservancy is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has offices in Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific, with support from more than half a million members and volunteers.

The American Littoral Society is a national, nonprofit, public-interest organization comprised of over 6,000 professional and amateur naturalists, with headquarters in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The society seeks to encourage a better scientific and public understanding of the marine environment, provide a unified voice advocating protection of the delicate fabric of life along the shore, and has been protecting coastal habitats since 1961.

For further information please contact Earth Club Advisor Donna Rae Sutherland at 585-343-0055 x6616.


Editors Note: A photograph of Genesee’s Earth Club members at the Oatka Creek Clean Up is available at:

CAPTION: Students in Genesee Community College’s Earth Club cleaned up 1.5 miles of the Oatka Creek in the town of Wheatland on Saturday, September 26 and gathered 190 pounds of debris. Front left to right are: Maureen Leupold, Biology professor at Genesee, Chelsy Richley, Naoka Hayas, Jamie Ander, Ricky Howard, DEC volunteer, Joseph Rimbeck and Matthew Hernandez. Also present but not pictured, Megan Reckahn.