Boneyard Creek Community Day is an event held one Saturday every April in Scott Park in Champaign. The purpose of this day is to “promote appreciation, stewardship, and naturalizing of our local stream corridors.” 2019 was the 14th year that community volunteers joined together to clean litter throughout Boneyard Creek and its surrounding parks. Members of the Wildlife Medical Clinic took a few hours out of their Saturday morning to dedicate time to cleaning these gorgeous parks!
The morning started off a little chilly, but luckily everyone was prepared to be outside. When we arrived at Scott Park, we picked up some garbage bags, buckets, gloves, and trash pickers. Because we had transportation, we were sent a little further upstream to Skelton Park to start our trash pickup. When we arrived at our site, we were shocked. We knew that there was going to be litter to pick up, but the amount of trash we found was truly unbelievable. With our rubber boots on, we waded through the creek and found everything from broken dishes, plastic bags, and straws to water bottles, chip bags, and Polar Pop styrofoam cups. Each of us easily filled at least four large garbage bags of litter from both in and around Boneyard Creek.
When the morning was over, it was extremely gratifying to look around the park and see nothing but wildlife, green grass, and a clean flowing river – nature as it should be. Seeing all the trash in the community was an important reminder to reduce our daily waste and plastic use and to continue to recycle whenever possible. While we want to keep these communities clean for us to enjoy, it is important to remember that these parks also serve as natural areas and important habitat for several local wildlife species.
Many thanks to the Wildlife Medical Clinic volunteers who gave up part of a weekend to help with this event and to make a difference in their community! We will definitely be back next year!