Missouri River cleanup encourages metro students to help the environment

The Missouri River is 2,341 miles long. A group of Benjamin Banneker Middle School students recited this fact for an entire afternoon hoping to learn as much as they could about their primary drinking water supply.

Led by the Missouri River Relief organization, dozens of students teamed up with classmates to find harmful items on the river’s bank. Once collected, the trash was taken to a large moving truck.

Among some of the key findings were a refrigerator, a tractor tire and a helium tank. Some of the students were very excited they managed to make such a positive impact on the environment within their home town.

Click here for reports from the Army Corps of Engineers

Montell Benjamin, a 6th grader at Benjamin Banneker, had a blast but also understood the importance of a clean water supply.

“So we can keep the river safe,” Benjamin said.

Missouri River Relief, based in Columbia, began its efforts to clean and restore the river in 2001. Since that time, the organization has collected more than 800 tons of trash with 21,000 volunteers.

Kristen Schulte, Education Coordinator for Missouri River Relief, said that once kids have been exposed to cleaning river banks and see how fun it can be creates a domino effect getting others to join in the efforts.

Click here for more about the Missouri River being endangered

“I think the first dinner conversation will be involved of like, ‘Oh my gosh! I pulled out this huge refrigerator and this giant tire,’ and then maybe it might continue on talking about the things that they learned,” Schulte said. “I think that excitement that they bring back to their family and friends will be really positive to encouraging them to come out on their own.”

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