Covered in what she hoped was only mud, Geneva High School student Julie Kibler got up close and personal with biology at Geneva State Park on Saturday.
Science teacher John Barbo wore overalls and helped 12 advanced placement biology students pick up trash and haul old tires out of the park for the annual Earth Day cleanup.
Barbo said he put out the idea of volunteering with his class and was happy to see the 12 girls show up, clad in overalls and rubber boots, to do the heavy work.
“I am so proud of these guys,” he said. “They will volunteer for anything. They gave their whole Saturday morning to get muddy and stinky. They are awesome kids.”
The girls removed bags of trash and 27 wet, muddy tires from the park.
“It was fun, but it was hard work,” student Courtney Leininger said. “The tires are full of mud and water and they smell like poop.”
Lindsey Armstrong said many of the tires were partially buried in the mud and she and her friends had to use shovels to dig them out of the wooded creek area.
Cassidy Pristov said she liked walking through the creek water.
“But I was so surprised at how much garbage was in there,” she said. “We picked up a ton of stuff.”
At Breakwater Beach, Madison Girl Scout troops 71102 and 71141 walked the waterline and picked up litter.
“We were just saying that we can’t believe the idiots who leave this stuff in a park,” Gabrielle Perusek, 12, said. “The stuff we picked up was gross.”
The girls picked up a toilet seat, a tire, a pair of underpants, and found a few other “treasures” on the beach.
“The grossest thing I found was a beer can that smelled like it had pee in it,” said Anna Froebe, 12.
McKenna Nawlow, 13, said the group skipped picking up the dead fish.
“They biodegrade, so we left them there,” she said.
Kayla Guthrie, 12, said she is proud of the troops for working hard and really putting effort into the park cleanup.
“It was hard work,” 13-year-old Alisha Palma said, “but it was fun because we did it together.”