KCCB, volunteers clean up waterway
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Nearly 40 volunteers showed up to help clean one of Copperas Cove’s waterways during the first Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful water way cleanup of 2018 held Saturday morning.
The group gathered at the Copperas Cove Public Library at 10 a.m. Saturday before making their way to the Bible Way Missionary Baptist Church parking lot off of S. FM 116. Nearby, a creek flowed, with trash scattered throughout the banks and in the water.
Before the group left the library parking lot, Silvia Rhoads, Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful executive director, asked for a show of hands of first time volunteers. Around 10-12 people raised their hands.
They joined the regular volunteers, whom Rhoads referred to as her “repeat defenders” because they were defenders of the earth. Rhoads also explained that the quickest way to teach people not to litter was to have them pick up litter.
Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful commission members provided waders, litter grabbers, trash bags and recycling bags, as well as sunscreen, bug spray and water for anyone who needed them.
Volunteers worked in pairs to pick up the litter and within an hour had picked up nearly all of the trash along the creek.
Some brave kids chose to get their feet wet by wading in the water to get the harder to reach trash. Robert Cain’s two children, Christopher, 12, and Olivia, 9, were part of this group. Cain said he had run into Rhoads before the cleanup event at the grocery store when she was grabbing doughnuts for the volunteers. It was then that they found out about the waterway cleanup and decided to come check it out.
Cain said he and his wife like to teach their children to take care of their environment and had actually picked up litter on their own road earlier in the day. Living just down the street, Cain said he had seen the trash around the creek before and often thought of coming to pick it up himself but added that it’s a “daunting task” for just one person. With the many hands working together, the volunteers had all picked up enough trash to fill the bed of Rhoads KCCB pickup truck.
“I think it’s good for people to take care of their own community and not rely on local government to do everything for them,” Cain said. “I think if more people knew about this, there would be more people helping.”
Cain shared that his favorite part of the clean up event was seeing his kids have fun and do something good.
“It probably will leave an indelible mark in their head that they got to come play in water and pick up garbage,” Cain said.
Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful has been holding waterway cleanups for the past 11 years, according to Rhoads. Despite not being near a lake, the city has a lot of creeks and ponds and drainage ditches where litter accumulates over time.
“You can see little fishes live in the water in our creeks. Butterflies drink the water,” Rhoads said. “We have turtles in the water, and we feel bad that their habitat is getting trashed like it is.”
A lot of the litter was likely washed down due to rain and wind into the creek, which connects to Oakalla and other areas beyond Copperas Cove, Rhoads added.
The water way cleanups normally happen in the spring, with the next one being May 5. The various water ways that KCCB has cleaned up previously include the City Park creek and pond, Heritage Park creek as well as the large drainage ditch on Creek Street, Rhoads said.
The next litter clean up will be the Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-Off on April 7.