Fifty-two heaping bags of trash – 1,144 pounds of garbage – it was all in a day’s work for the Chaminade Julienne Eagles.
The CJ Environmental Club spearheaded the recent River Cleanup that included more than 40 volunteers and was done in partnership with the City of Dayton Department of Water.
Helen Brzozowski ‘23, a member of the Environmental Club, was instrumental in planning and implementing the cleanup effort.
“The River Cleanup was an important project for the community because many people say they care about the environment but when it comes to actually actively doing work that's where they stop,” Brzozowski said.
“They say that environmental issues are their main concern but don't do any active work such as going to Environmental Club meetings, trying to reduce their carbon footprint or plastic waste trail, or reusing and buying second-hand instead of always buying new things. This project gave people an easy opportunity to actively make a difference in the environment and back their environmental activism with action.”
Four hours of work along the scenic Great Miami River was all it took to collect more than 1,110 pounds of trash and learn some valuable lessons.
“I think this is valuable because it shows students what kind of pollution there is in the river and by the river and what is needed to help our ecosystems,” said Cathryn Maga, Environmental Club moderator. “It also shows students that they can make an impact.”
The Environmental Club was reintroduced this year after a several-year hiatus. In addition to the river cleanup, club members organized a t-shirt drive and upcycled them into grocery bags for teachers this year and are hoping to organize a Green Week and create a pollinator garden on campus in the future.
“We reintroduced this club due to the interest of students, so this is the first year I have organized a project like the cleanup, but I am hoping to continue and have two per year going forward,” Maga said.
There are currently about eight core members of the Environmental Club, but many other CJ students participated in the cleanup effort. The small club was able to make a big difference.
“We have a smaller number of students who regularly come to Environmental Club meetings, so having more students at the river cleanup made much more of a difference than just our small group,” Brzozowski said.