We climbed over and under fallen trees thicker than our waists, sunk knee-deep in mud, and plunged our gloved fingers deep into the water dragging out cast-off tennis balls, tires, and bunches of bottles. When my younger sister, Carolyn, convinced me to sign up for Stream Team for Maryville Reaches Out, I didn’t realize it would be such an adventure.
This year marks my sister’s first as an occupational therapy major and my third as a graphic design major, so we wanted to find something to do together for MRO. When we came across Stream Team, my sister immediately wanted to sign up, because she enjoyed the creek clean up when she was in high school. Who was I to argue?
So we dug out our old tennis shoes and t-shirts, and met with the rest of the team early Tuesday morning. Our leader, Russell Blaine, P.h.D., handed out gloves and netted bags for trash and we headed down to the stream.
The team stuck together until the stream forked. Logically, my dare-devil sister chose to scoot under a thick tree instead of taking the clear path to the right, and I followed along with four others. There were times when one step would mean the difference between knee-deep and waist-deep water or we had to boost each other over a tree to get to the other side, and once there was so much wood debris in the water we climbed onto the bank to avoid it.
We made good time, though, and when we met up with the others the teams greatest finds included: a long metal rod, a dog’s squeaky toy, a large bone, a basketball (still in good shape), and several feet of thick, metal cord.
At the end of the day, we were crusty with mud, sopping, and exhausted, but I couldn’t help but feel certain satisfaction in what we had done. The stream was a little bit cleaner, and we were a little bit messier. And when MRO comes around again next year, I wouldn’t be surprised if my sister and I wade through the waters again.
Article by Sarah Kidwell