Thursday, November 18, 2010

Assabet River - Thoreau School's Outdoor Classroom

Today's trash patrol was a little different in that, at its conclusion, I was able to share the results with 4th grade teacher Susan Erickson and her students.  The setting for our rendezvous was the outdoor classroom that Susan played a pivotal role in creating.  It was nice to see the students writing in  their journals as I approached the site from upriver.  Reaching the riverbank, I threw my boat's painter up to the students and with some "heave", "ho" chanting, they helped pull it up onto the bank and into their unique classroom.  The day's catch was then unloaded and the students got to see a fairly typical haul gathered from patrolling a half mile section of the Assabet River.  Some of today's trash was recovered during an unscheduled portage necessitated by last night's windstorm having blown down a large tree across the river.  The blowdown is seen in the opening photo and is just a little upstream from Pine Street.  After completing the portage, I patrolled the river up to another, older blowdown near Westvale... 
I might have been able to paddle through a small opening on river right, but thanks to yesterday's heavy rains there was a good flow chugging through the very narrow opening.  Any attempt would have to be all or nothing as backing out would not be an option.  So, the section between here and Damondale will be left for another day. 
On the trip downriver to the Thoreau School my brakes got a good workout.
Back at the outdoor classroom, the students were aware that my year-to-date count was 5990, and I'm happy to report the 6,000 mark was surpassed.  Pictured below are the 41 refugees rounded up today...  
There were 16 recyclable containers (2 redeemable) and 25 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as plastic bags, pieces of styrofoam, a set of bicycle training wheels, and a soccer ball that escaped before being photographed.  My YTD total stands at 6031.
I appreciated the opportunity to share in the students outdoor classroom experience, and enjoyed trying to answer their many good questions about trashpaddling.  I left very inspired by their appreciation for the river running behind their school. Students and teacher are pictured leaving for their next class.


Erik Eckilson said...

Great experience to share with the kids - hopefully they will grow up to be more concerned about the river. Never made it up to see you, but would still like to sometime.

Al said...

Erik, What surprised me was how concerned about the river they already are. It brought to mind the recent conversation on regarding whether or not picking up trash is futile. Anyone spending a little time with these students would come away with a new sense of commitment.

It would be great to paddle with you someday. Perhaps, I can show you some of my favorite SuAsCo haunts and you could show me some of your's in the Blackstone River watershed. Thanks for the traffic you've sent to my blog.