Friday, April 25th, 2008
By Nancy Allen
Students declare war on trash around Grand Lake
  It will be a battle between students from St. Marys and Celina to see who can pick up the most trash during Saturday's annual cleanup around Grand Lake from 9 a.m. to noon.
The winner will win bragging rights and a traveling trophy that hopefully will be reused year after year, said Grand Lake St. Marys State Park Manager Craig Morton.
Celina kids should meet at the West Bank boat launch near Celina and St. Marys kids should show up at East Bank shelter house No. 1 near St. Marys. Trash also will be picked up at Windy Point on the lake's south side.
Participation in the annual trash pickup has waned in recent years and Morton wanted to do something to revive interest. So he contacted teachers from both schools to get students involved.
"I didn't get to promote this as much as I wanted, but I know we're going to see some kids from each school," Morton said. "We have them signed up from government classes and they will get credit for community service."
Morton said there will be a "substantially-sized" piece of litter at both the East and West Bank park locations with each school's name on it. Whoever finds the two pieces of trash wins two free nights of camping at the state park campgrounds in Auglaize County.
Morton said any student from Celina or St. Marys can participate in the competition. Whichever group collects the most bags of trash wins. Bags will have to be at least half full.
"We're going to be pretty tough on the bags, so we don't have some with just a few tissues in them," he said laughing. "Hopefully it will help them take a little ownership of the whole lake and watershed."
As for the traveling trophy, its exact composition is a secret, but it is made of "recyclable materials," said Laura Walker, coordinator of the Grand Lake/Wabash Watershed Alliance, who is a volunteer for the event. Her husband is creating the trophy.
Morton added that while he is trying to get more young people involved in the event, anybody can participate and is encouraged to do so.
Trash bags, gloves and bottled water will be provided for all volunteers.
If weather is bad, the event will be rescheduled for the following Saturday, May 3, at the same time.
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