BRUNSWICK – After officials for the Cuyahoga Soil and Watershed Conservation District announced last month that preserving the city’s waterways, namely Plum Creek, Healey Creek and Brunswick Lake, need to be a high priority in the coming years, local Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops took action this past weekend to keep those waterways free of debris.

As phosphorus levels in Plum Creek were at the highest levels they have been since officials for the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District began monitoring the water conditions regularly back in 2001, local officials said that other pollutants – including litter – continue to be an ongoing problem.

Though ridding the waterways of debris and other clutter was a priority during the scouts’ May 18 cleanup, Jim Bollinger, assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 517, said cleaning the debris was “almost secondary” in the order of priorities.

“Our main goal was to collect a list of data for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources,” Bollinger said, noting that the state office regularly collects data about different types the trash found in the state’s natural areas in an effort to provide continuing awareness programs regarding the effects of littering.

As a result, in addition to garbage bags, gloves and grabbers, the scouts who participated in the cleanup, as well as their families, were asked to log each and every piece of debris they collected on a clipboard chart so that state officials are able to use the data to educate the public about the dangers and effects of littering.

Bollinger said that close to 40 scouts participated in the event, which was open to all Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops in the Brunswick community. Among the units in attendance that day included Troop 517, Pack 3407, Pack 3513 and Pack 3515.

In addition to locating two plastic alligator heads, several tires and bags upon bags of paper, plastic bags, cups and cigarette packs, the scouts also unearthed a muffler among the debris in Healey Creek.

The discoveries, Bollinger said, helped the scouts learn a valuable lesson in civic pride.

“We want them to see the importance in maintaining their own community and being a contributing member of society,” Bollinger said. “Like the rest of us who work and play in the Brunswick area, we have to do our part in keeping the area as nice as we can.”

Bollinger, who said that organizing the cleanup is one of the five projects he must accomplish in order to earn his Wood Badge, said making sure the city’s waterways were cleaned up prior to Memorial Day weekend was his goal.

“We wanted to see to it that the area was spruced up just in time for the start of the outdoor season which begins next week,” he said. “And I think we’re off to a great start.”

The Wood Badge, Bollinger said, is the adult equivalent of achieving the rank of Eagle Scout among the scouting community.

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