Fly Fishing Students Take Out the Trash
On November 21, 2011, several students from the exceedingly popular Fly Fishing Gen Ed course stepped up to the plate and did their bit for conservation. The students took an hour out of their busy schedules to pick up the trash in and around the small pond located at the Oxford County Campus in Woodstock.
The following description of the event comes from professor Ian Colin James, in his own words:
At first glance, this may not appear to be a major undertaking, but it was. As we all know when it comes to cleaning up the environment every little bit helps, and by starting in your backyard you can make both a measurable and a meaningful difference.
It's one thing for students to hear a lecture, or two, about getting involved in cleaning things up, but quite another to have them wearing gloves, clutching garbage bags and picking up trash around a pond. Conservation is not all glam and glory nor saving a batch of Blue Spotted Mongolian Marmots in some far off land. Meaningful conservation can be as simple as stuffing a garbage bag in your back pocket, and when you're out for a walk with your dog – if you don’t have a dog borrow one – picking up some of the trash you find along the way.
What made this clean-up effort noteworthy is that from day one, it was student driven. The students were learning to fly cast – a requirement to pass the course – beside the pond and they noticed the garbage. They applied for, and got, the required permission to do the clean up, then the City of Woodstock kicked in the garbage bags and gloves. Dr. John Makaran, one of the founders of the course and Chair of the School of Applied Sciences & Technology, said it best: "When our students show this kind of initiative, then see it through to fruition, it reinforces the core beliefs and values upon which we built the course curriculum."
Most of the garbage consisted of fast food wrappers, Tim Hortons cups, plastic water bottles and – because the pond is close to a baseball diamond – half a dozen baseballs in various stages of decomposition. We also collected one very sad looking tennis ball that even the happiest Golden Retriever on the planet would refuse to chase down and put in his mouth.
You would think the students who put this together were the rugged outdoors variety, raised by wolves 100 miles north of Yellowknife and who can, with only a dull spoon, survive for 6 weeks on the south face of Mt. Everest, but you would be wrong. They are enrolled in the practical nursing and the refrigeration programs at Fanshawe College’s Oxford County Campus. They are just like the rest of the student population, but they saw an environmental issue they could fix, then they stepped up and got the job done.
Nov. 21, Students cleaned the Oxford County Campus pond
"It's very encouraging to see a handful of students can make such a big difference, and in less than an hour," said Donna Derer, Oxford County Campus Chair.
In closing, I have nothing against Blue Spotted Mongolian Marmots. I’m sure they look cute and they are good at doing what marmots do, but I doubt if I would let them change the oil in my minivan, nor take my 150 lb Cane Corso for a walk.