One litter bit at a time, or by planting trees for the future

Maggie Schroeder and children Emma, Brody and Mallory (from left) comb the banks of the spillway in search of litter.  Free PressFor Goessel resident Maggie Schroeder and her three children, Cleanup Day at Marion Reservoir is a family affair.

Schroeder was participating for the 11th time in its 13-year tradition. Son Brody, a nine-year veteran, was working alongside sisters Maggie and Mallory and about 43 other volunteers and park staff to pick up litter from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

?This is a good thing to do and we just enjoy doing it together as a family,? Schroeder said. ?As long as they keep serving doughnuts, we?ll keep coming.?

Lloyd Davies (middle) reviews the battle plan for Cleanup Day with son Nicholas, and Melissa Bean, chief park ranger at the reservoir. Free PressEvent organizer Lloyd Davies of Marion said by the end of the day the group had filled 68 trash bags with litter, plus two buoys and even a 55-gallon barrel.

In addition to families, the event drew a youth group from the Alex?an?derfeld Mennonite Church and a cluster of residents from Westview Manor in Peabody.

?Between the trees and cleanup, this was probably the best year we?ve had out there in 13 years,? Davies said of the turnout.

The trees he was referring to were 750 small cedars that were planted the previous day by a busload of 27 students and sponsors from Peabody-Burns High School. With time, the trees will grow into a windbreak for the newly developed campground addition at Cottonwood Point.

The project was part of a school-wide community service day at Peabody-Burns.

Lloyd Davies distributes work gloves to the Peabody-Burns students on Friday morning. The gloves were provided by Mudpuppies Missouri Stream Team #2642.  Free PressThe Saturday group formed three to four teams. Two groups picked litter on either side of the spillway, as well as the dam itself.

Davies said he was blown away by the Alexanderfeld youth.

?They are probably the hardest workers I?ve had out there,? he said. ?They did everything on the west side of the spillway, and the entire west side of the dam?even with the (cool) north wind coming in.?

Local volunteer Verna Peters hands another evergreen tree to an eager Peabody-Burns student. Free Press PhotoThe Westview group focused on gathering litter at Marion Cove. Before the day was over, the volunteers also made stops at French Creek Cove and a few other targeted areas.

?We had a great turnout and were able to cover a lot of ground for the day,? Davies said. ?When we have that many people out, it goes very well.?

Davies and his family have been coordinating Cleanup Day since its inception. He participated in a similar project for 20 years when he lived in the Kansas City area, then brought it with him when he moved to Marion.

?This is just play for me,? Davies said with a chuckle. ?I just have a ball out there. It?s weird, but it?s fun.?Peabody-Burns students planted 750 cedar trees Friday. The students formed teams of four people, and ?leap-frogged? their way to the next designated location once their tree was planted.  Free Press Photo

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