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Volunteers Will Help Clean Up Public Parks Saturday

Sept. 24 is National Public Lands Day, a day in which people help clean more than 2,000 public sites across the country.

National Public Lands Day is a one-day volunteer clean up of public parks across the country held this year on Sept. 24.

Many people are expected to help clean up more than 2,000 public parks and other sites that day. National Parks like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone an Acadia National Park will be free to visitors and volunteers.

There are several opportunities to clean up public lands in the St. Charles area.

On Saturday, Francis Howell Central science teacher Jessica Rowe plans to bring a group of students to pick up trash in Laurel Park. After, students will clean up the nearby Spencer Creek and conduct some water testing, looking at Nitrates, phosphates, chloride, oxygen and ph levels.

Rowe said students typically enjoy having the chance to contribute to their communities. Trash clean up can be fun, she said. 
"It helps them with awareness of their own community," she said. "A lot of them, unless their parents take them outdoors, they're not aware of what's available in St. Charles.

Mitch Leachman, executive director of St. Louis Audubon Society, has organized a volunteer opportunity at Cuivre River State Park on Oct. 1 in honor of National Public Lands Day.

Volunteers will be removing invasive plants and collecting seeds from native plants and grasses.

"No experience is necessary," Leachman said. "We provide the minimal training necessary. ... Invasive species are a big problem at all our natural areas. We will work to remove some plants that don't belong in our country. They have a tendency to take over and displace good plants and change the environment to the bad."

Leachman said after more than 15 years of volunteering with various environmental organizations, he's found that helping clean up a park changes the way he looks at it.

"I'm aware of things and see things that I wouldn't have seen if it weren't for the volunteer projects," he said.

Places to Participate in National Public Lands Day Sept. 24

  • Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary301 Riverlands Way, West Alton, MO 63386. Volunteers will do trail maintenance, boardwalk construction and river clean up. Groups or individuals are welcome. Contact: Charlie Deutsch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 636-899-0082,charlie.deutsch@usace.army.mil
  • , 181 Driftwood Lane, St. Peters, MO 63376. Volunteers will pick up trash in and around the park and perform water tests on Spencer Creek, which is adjacent to the park. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the flagpole in the park. Contact: Jessica Rowe, Francis Howell Central High School Science Club, (636) 851-4640, jessica.rowe@fhsdschools.org.
  • Cora Island at Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, 4200 New Haven Rd., St. Louis, MO 65201. Volunteers will work with inner St. Louis students to remove trash from the island and understand the role of pollinators and their role in the environment. Contact: Tim Haller, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, (573) 441-2799, tim_haller@fws.gov
  • Edward “Ted” and Pat Jones Confluence Point State Park, 1000 Riverlands Way, West Alton, MO, 63386. Volunteers will plant prairie cordgrass and wetland shrubs. Volunteers should dress for wet, muddy conditions and wear sturdy boots or shoes. Contact: Quinn Kellner, Missouri State Parks, (636) 899-1135, uinn.kellner@dnr.mo.gov.

Volunteer Events on Oct. 1

  • , 100 Olive Street, St. Charles, MO 63301. Volunteers will pick up trash along the biking and hiking trails and around the park from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Oct. 1. Contact: Chris Atkinson, (636) 949-3372, chris.atkinson@stcharlesparks.com.
  • Cuivre River State Park, 678 State Route 147, Troy, MO, 63379. Volunteers will help remove invasive plants to restore a savannah. No special skills are required. Volunteers should plan to arrive by 8:30 a.m. and work until noon Oct. 1. Lunch is provided. Contact Name: Mitch Leachman, St. Louis Audobon Society, 314-599-7390, director@stlouisaudubon.org Registration is required, please RSVP. 
  • Cuivre River State Park, 678 State Route 147, Troy, MO, 63379. Volunteers will collect and broadcast seed collected in the previous year, remove exotic species from the fields, cut donated wood to be distributed as firewood through a local food pantry to families in need of winter supplies, clean up existing hiking trails. Volunteer date is Oct. 1 from 8 a.m. to noon. Contact Kathryn Ragsdale, Toyota facility, kathryn.ragsdale@tema.toyota.com, (636) 462-1071.

For more information about events, please call or email the contact listed.

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