Manassas Journal Messenger | Scouts help clean park

Car loads of Scouts, armed with black plastic trash bags, sprinted to the banks of the Potomac River at Leesylvania State Park Sunday to clean up debris left by Hurricane Isabel.

“We had about 125 Scouts, boys and girls, come out to help us today,” said Deb Oliver, Prince William spokeswoman.

The scouts and their parents gathered broken glass, lumber, tangled fishing line and pieces of polystyrene before they started enjoying the Annual Watershed Exploration Day at the park.

Elaine Jappinga and Julie Fisher brought a bunch of Cub Scouts from Pack 1390 out of Minnieville Elementary School.

Jappinga said the boys enjoy getting down to the river.

“They’re gone,” Jappinga said of the Cub Scouts who ran along the river bank and stopped periodically to pick up a piece of trash.

“They’re having a good old time,” Jappinga said.

“They’re loving this,” Fisher said.

Forest Banks, 9, and his brother Layton, 8, both of Pack 1390, verified their leaders’ assertions.

“I like helping out the community,” said Layton.

“It’s interesting to see what people are leaving at the beach,” Forrest said.

Those who volunteered were rewarded with a watershed walk with a park ranger, a reptile show and a puppet show.

Oliver said the programs were designed to help people learn about various aspects of life near a river.

“In the community, obviously they’re learning about the destruction a hurricane can do to a park on a tidal river,” she said.

“On the watershed hike, they can learn what a watershed is, the different components of a watershed and they all interact,” she said.

Visitors to the event learned that they can protect area waterways and improve water quality by limiting their application lawn fertilizer, emptying pools only when necessary and properly disposing of household cleaners.

“They can learn about doing their part to help their community and have a little fun,” Oliver said of the event.

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