Earlier this month, Storm King student-volunteers gave their time and talents to yet another event that benefits the greater Cornwall community. On Saturday, May 5, a group of 10 environmentally-conscious SKS students joined forces with nearly 65 other volunteers at the 7th Annual Riverkeeper Sweep to help clean up the Hudson’s riverbanks.
Led by SKS Green Team member Aryana Martin ’18, the Storm King volunteers included Miles Lucas ’21, Songjun Kim ‘19, Can Tetik ‘18, Igor Klimtsov ‘20, Bayarjargal Jono Ganbold ’18, Bridgette Wickiser ‘18, Grace Song ‘18, Xin Max Nie ‘18, Ziyuan Richard Chen’18 and faculty members Peter E. Rowe and Dr. Paul Feffer.
The Riverkeeper Sweep is an annual day of service for the Hudson River and its tributaries where thousands of volunteers gather at nearly 500 locations along the shoreline from Brooklyn to the Adirondacks. Their goal is to remove trash, debris, invasive species, and plant trees and native grasses. The gathering at the Cornwall Landing location was organized by the Cornwall Conservation Advisory and Riverkeeper. The combined effort of both organizations brought nearly 75 volunteers including the Storm King group, who worked together to remove hundreds of pounds of trash and junk from the park that day.
Aryana and her Green Team colleagues have been taking environmental issues to heart all year, especially focusing on the negative effects plastics have on the environment. As part of their year-long efforts, the students wished to organize a river cleanup day. After speaking to officials at several local waterfront municipalities such as Cornwall and Beacon, they decided to join forces with the annual Riverkeeper Sweep.
When they received an invitation to participate from Cornwall-on-Hudson Mayor Brendan Coyne for the second year in a row, the Storm King students met the other volunteers near the Gazebo at Donahue Memorial Park on the waterfront. Wearing boots, gloves, and reflective vests, the students and faculty worked for several hours to remove bag after bag of junk, plastics, bottles, tires, and other unwanted debris from the shoreline. Mr. Rowe and Dr. Feffer, who also took part in the cleanup, were very impressed with the hard work and team spirit the students displayed. “It was like the merging of several great forces,” explained Mr. Rowe after the group’s return. “The organization and resolve of these different groups combined with the enthusiasm of our students made it a very productive morning and a great experience for everyone involved,” he said.