Youngsters known as the Alley Pond Pioneers got their hands dirty last week in a cleanup of the park’s wetlands Thursday.
The Alley Pond Pioneers are a group of children entering grades four through six who meet at the Alley Pond Environmental Center (APEC) on Tuesdays and Thursdays to take part in educational programs.
APEC Executive Director Irene Scheid acted as judge to decide which team of pint-size trash collectors had the heaviest and largest pieces of garbage. The contest ended in a tie, as one team had a heavier haul but the other had collected larger pieces. Both the teams went home with a prize.
“We’re always glad to have the children here participating and making the park better for everyone,” Scheid said.
According to APEC Office Coordinator Elizabeth Whalen, many of this year’s Pioneers have been participating in the program for three consecutive years and had been anticipating the cleanup since their first week.
“The Pioneers took such pride in their efforts,” Whalen said. “They are to be commended.”
Past Alley Pond Pioneer activities included tours of Oakland Lake, walks to natural springs, hiking, outdoor yoga classes and healthy cooking classes. The next cleanup is planned for August on the beach.
“It’s learning about nature how important nature is, and having it become part of their lives for the future,” Scheid said.