Bizer Creek clean-up removes hundreds of pounds of refuse

Volunteers help revive littered creek

bizer-creek

Roughly 20 student volunteers braved uneven terrain and cold temperatures to collect an estimated 500 pounds of garbage from Bizer Creek on Thursday. 

UB Sustainability led the hour-long cleanup, where volunteers removed debris including everything from Arizona cans to chip bags. Volunteers walked along the creek –– which stretches from the Statler Food Commissary to Creekside Village –– to remove any trash they could find. A few volunteers entered the creek to reach some of the bigger items. This was UB Sustainability’s first attempt at cleaning up Bizer Creek, although the group has hosted cleanup events around Lake LaSalle and Ellicott Creek in the past. 

Michael McDonald, a UB Sustainability student assistant, said he was “impressed” with the success of the cleanup, considering the group organized it “last minute.”

McDonald, a junior in the school of management, said he thought many of the items had been around the creek for at least several years and the cleanup was a “good start.”

“I think the cleanup was very successful, but it showed us there’s a lot more work to do,” McDonald said. “We didn’t really want to stop.”

Erin Moscati, the sustainability education manager at UB Sustainability, said UB Sustainability hopes to make the cleanup an annual spring event.

“We’ll definitely organize this [cleanup] every year, it was a nice event and it was a great day to do it because we didn’t have a lot of wind,” Moscati said.

Moscati said the event reinforced how significant teamwork can be in tackling a problem.

“In an hour, I would estimate we collected 15 to 20 bags of garbage and we had maybe 20 people,” Moscati said. “So everyone collected at least a bag of garbage, which is pretty impressive.”

McDonald said his “favorite find” was a beat-up necktie. 

Terry Francois, a junior environmental engineering major, said his best find was a roughly 10-foot-long steel cable.

McDonald said the volunteers’ work had a clear impact on the creek’s visual appeal. He said he hopes it made a difference for the wildlife that call Bizer creek home too.

“I already walked across the bridge once and I thought it looked a lot nicer,” McDonald said. “We even have deer coming through here sometimes, a handful of bucks and does, so it’s nice knowing they aren’t going to be picking around in the trash anymore.”

Francois, a senior trip leader of the Outdoor Adventure Club, said UB should offer more cleanups since there’s a lot of work to be done. Francois said he would also like to see Letchworth Woods cleaned up since he hopes to establish additional trails there.

“I feel like we’re not doing enough on campus,” Francois said. “It seems like everywhere either has cigarette butts or needs to be cleaned and it’s too much for Facilities to handle alone.”

McDonald said cleanups like this may seem small, but can actually go a long way in improving the environment.  

“I think the big point you can take from this is all this stuff sits for so long, but it only takes a couple hours and some manpower to undo all those years of contamination,” McDonald said. “It really makes a bigger difference than people think.”

Nathan Gardner is a staff writer and can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com