By ALAHANDRA JONES
Students and teachers from Windsor Street Montessori School picked up trash in Lions-Stephens Park on Friday afternoon as part of a city wide effort to pick up trash, Cleanup Columbia. The event officially began Saturday, April 9, but the city allowed Windsor students and teachers to pick up trash Friday to accommodate the school day.
“We wanted to do this park because we use it everyday,” said Windsor teacher Michelle Mustain.
Nine-year-old Hallam George usually plays football at the park during recess.
“If feels good to clean up trash, because it’s a clean park now,” Hallam said.
During the 2010 Cleanup Columbia event, 1,473 people volunteered and 1,405 bags of trashed were picked up, according to city records. The city provides trash bags, gloves and safety vests, and Columbia Public Works collects the filled bags from each site.
This is the third year the school has participated in Cleanup Columbia — in years prior, the school picked up trash at Stephens Lake Park.
“It reminds me of Earth Day,” Grant, 6, said. “That’s when you help the Earth, and we are helping the Earth.”
Picking up trash fulfills another goal for students — in September, they joined the six-month-long Go! St.Louis Read, Right & Run Marathon, requiring them to read 26 books, do 26 good deeds and run 26 miles. Students kept track of the books they read and deeds they completed, such as writing cards to children in the Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.
Cleaning up Lions-Stephens Park marks the end of the marathon for the school. Windsor teachers have reinforced the importance of having a clean environment to students along the way.
“We have to protect (the Earth) because it’s the only planet we have to live on, unless we have a space suit,” Grant said.