Report by two recent TCCHS graduates, Marlo Wilcox (Rice University) and Emma Baird (University of Michigan). This trip was their graduation present, but they will join us again next summer for more!
We arrived at Dobson Bridge River Access at about 9:30 am, filled with anticipation and excitement. Emma and I had both kayaked before, however we lacked quite a few of the skills necessary to properly clear log jams or maneuver through the often quick currents. But everyone was very accommodating, and after some explanations from John and Lois and a few demonstrations from Sue, we felt confident enough to embark on our adventure.
It was not long after setting out that our group started finding trash, and soon we were also bringing in a haul of our own. For some time, I was only finding cans and Emma was only finding shoes, however that changed when Nikolaj asked us if we wanted to get in the water to grab some cans and Emma obliged, willing to withstand the frigid water and tumultuous current. After successfully recovering five cans that had clearly been there for some time, we continued on to the rest of our trip.
By lunchtime, many of us had full bags and most even had to offload to the tandem canoe! As we moved on, we were all consistently finding bottles, cans, shoes, and several articles of clothing, getting muddy and wet all the while. Kathleen even turned her kayak 90 degrees to the water to get a plastic bag that was on the bottom. The most surprising find of all, however, was a dry, fully intact, throw pillow! The group also found two paddles, one for a kayak and one from a paddleboard.
After exiting at the Peterson Bridge, we gathered all of the trash we found, and marveled at the amount we had found. Emma and I reflected on the fact that despite finding several full garbage bags worth of trash in the river, much of what we found would have gone without notice if we weren’t actively looking. If not for the work done by the crew, everything we collected would have
continued to sit in the river, hurting the local ecosystem all the while. I am very proud of the work we did and very relieved to know that there are people out there like those that we worked with making the world a cleaner and better place.
Photos by John, Mike and Harold
The crew -
Standing: Harold, Marlo, Sue, Nikolaj, Gerald, Marlene, Mike
Kneeling: Lois, John, Kathleen, Emma
Emma and Marlo try out their kayaks in the moving water below Dobson Bridge
Emma directs Nikolaj to some trash
Nikolaj and John pose for a photo by Harold
How to keep your phone ready for a photo
Lois finds one hiking boot (apparently someone else found its match, but the mud inside was too much to bear).
Nikolaj uses the spear to go after cans on the river bottom
A Huron-Manistee National Forest Ranger joins in the fun
Emma (encouraged by Nikolaj) braves the cool water to get some cans off the bottom
John climbs onto a large log jam to go after some trash, while Lois, Kathleen and Harold stand by
Kathleen goes after a plastic bag tangled in some branches on the river bottom
Our haul at Peterson Bridge (Nikolaj was retrieving his car and missed this shot)
Photo taken by Marv, our shuttle bunny extraordinaire