A pay phone and a tricycle were among the 350 pounds of discarded items and waste Tusculum University students and faculty members collected from a section of College Creek on Friday.

According to a press release from the university, a team of about 20 participants cleaned a portion of the creek and the adjacent wooded area at the edge of the campus from the Paul E. Hayden Educational Wetland to the Doak House Museum.

“It is important to raise awareness about environmental protection and citizens taking an active role in that effort,” said Dr. Susan Monteleone, associate professor of biology, who organized the event. “Because it is close to Earth Day, I wanted to have an event to support that annual celebration and our planet. In our mission statement, Tusculum emphasizes civic engagement and the provision of an active and experiential education, and this cleanup day was an excellent way to put those principles into action.”

According to the release the university is in the early stages of establishing a nature preserve in the area, and Dr. Monteleone said Friday’s initiative was a great avenue to prepare it for future visitors.

Anjilena Robinson, a freshman chemistry major, enjoyed joining faculty members and fellow students, in this endeavor. She has participated in these types of activities before and considered Friday’s event an excellent example of mutualism, the release said.

“This is a nice way to help the plants grow in this area without interference from other things that do not need to be there,” Robinson said. “Plants do a lot of things for us, and if we protect them, they will be able to continue helping us. Most of the trash was put there by humans, so I think it is wise for us to remove it and keep this area clean so the plants can continue to thrive and provide for us the way they do.”

Andrew Medeck, a sophomore majoring in biology with a medical pre-professional concentration, viewed Friday’s activity as environmental stewardship. He enjoys service work and wants the area to look nice.

“Any way I can help people or make the community better in any way, it just makes the campus look even better to others,” Medeck said. “Others will also feel good about us and show us respect when they know we are taking care of the community.”

Supplies, T-shirts and other elements of Friday’s event were provided through a $1,000 grant from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the release said.

For more information about the university, visit www.tusculum.edu.

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