By Alixann Spaulding and Judy Reed
When you ask a teen to clean up their room, you can count on a groan, and sometimes an outright no. But when the seventh graders at Cedar Springs Middle School were asked to help clean up the White Pine Trail last week, it was met with eager anticipation.
“We love the environment, and we’re really happy to get the chance to help!” said student Briana Blair.
Dave Heyboer, President of the Friends of the White Pine Trail, is not surprised. “I see a huge buy-in on the part of the kids,” he said. “They feel like they have some ownership in it.”
Every May the seventh grade students of Cedar Springs Middle School clean litter off of the trail, whether the sun is shining or not. Mrs. Blauw, Mr. Fleming, Mr. Martin, and Mrs. Metiva were the teachers leading the expedition this year. A drizzly morning on Friday did not halt the students, teachers, and volunteer parents from walking from the middle school (at the corner of Northland Drive and 16 Mile) up to 17 Mile. Once there they split up the classes, with two classes going south and two going north.
Before leaving the school, Heyboer spoke to the kids about the trail, and about what to do and what not to do while picking up trash. The students put on rubber gloves and grabbed garbage bags before heading out.
After they had cleaned the trail, for over a mile in either direction from 17 Mile Road, they went back toward the school and they also cleaned up Skinner Field.
Heyboer is glad for all the help the community has given recently to keep the trail clean. “Since the state has no one cleaning it, everyone we can get out on the trail to help makes it a better experience for everyone,” he explained.
Heyboer noted some improvements will be coming to the trail soon. “We are anticipating paving from Cadillac south to LeRoy, about 17 miles. That’s a big step forward,” he said.
Also coming in the near future will be a covered picnic table on the trail between Indian Lakes and 16 Mile Rd.
Thanks to all the seventh graders for a job well done!
For more info about the trail, visit www.whitepinetrail.com.