Naperville Central Students attend Illinois Waterway Cleanup

Vivian Zhao, Editorial Editor

Naperville Central students picked up litter at Knoch Knolls Park during the Illinois Waterway Cleanup on the morning of Sept. 15.

The Illinois Waterway Cleanup was organized by social studies teachers Seth Brady and Randall Smith as part of the larger Illinois Global Scholar Program, an initiative to promote global awareness.

Over 450 pounds of trash were collected by more than 100 students.

“[Today], a million people around the world are cleaning up various rivers, lakes, and streams,” Brady said.

The cleanup was sponsored by local businesses, organizations and advocacy groups, including the Naperville Education Foundation and Ocean Conservancy.

While most volunteered on the 15th, Junior Sarah Gadd attended the waterway cleanup on Sept. 14 with her Humanities capstone class.

“I’ve gained knowledge about what I can do in my daily life and what I can change,” Gadd said. “I didn’t realize doing something in Naperville could do something to the ocean.”

Following the cleanup, classes will evaluate environmental data and analyze potential responses.

“We’re still working on connecting classrooms in the United States with classrooms in other parts of the world,” Brady said.

The cleanup has shown both students and educators the global impacts that local efforts can have. Litter found in Naperville could travel down waterways and end up in the ocean.

“I was stunned by how much trash was in a place that looks pretty clean,” Brady said.. “That’s just a small pond. How many ponds are there like that?”

Many volunteers felt personal motivations toward the cleanup.

“I would hate to see the ocean deteriorate so quickly if I didn’t do anything about it,” Gadd said..

Despite this, most do not make an effort to maintain the environment.  

“We need more excuses as students and teachers to do things like this,” said Brady. “I think people want to, [but] there’s just not space made.”