Friday’s Rowlett Creek Cleanup was unfortunate in that it was scheduled on a Friday afternoon when most people were working, and at a time when thunderstorms delivered on their promise to release torrents of rain over the area. I was there – all setup with my little table – and accompanied by my friend Andy, who works for the City of Plano.
A single visitor did keep us company though:
The experience was valuable to me as a learning exercise – and I had a nice time visiting with my friend. So, no regrets!
The BIG news is about the lake and creek cleanup at White Rock Lake in Dallas, held the next day, on Saturday, 9-12. The rainy weather was still in full swing, but take a look at the people who came out ready to help:
I have talked about the volunteer organization, For the Love of the Lake (FTLOTL), before. This photo shows a gathering of people who came to participate in the monthly cleanup – despite the rain! Don’t think this is all of the participants, either – groups were coming in to pick up supplies and heading out to the lake throughout the morning. I met a new friend there, and helped pick up trash with her group. I don’t know how an operation like this could have been more organized and well-run. Food, coffee, and water were abundant, along with trash bags, gloves and trash-pickers.
When I arrived, I was treated to a tour of the FTLOTL office by longtime volunteer and FTLOTL board memeber, Joe Whitaker. The FTLOTL office is open every Saturday from 8am-12noon, and Joe is a fixture there. Joe told me that the FTLOTL organization has been around for 13 years, and showed me a wall proudly displaying the many awards they have received:
The table you see in the foreground is full of information and flyers about FTLOTL events and lake information. The FTLOTL volunteers help to keep the entire 1254 acres of lake amid the 2115 acres of park land in sparkling condition. White Rock Lake is more like a community than a park with visitors. I felt like I was part of something good and wholesome. I was out in nature, side-by-side with other volunteers who cheerfully worked in the rain. A jogger ran by and called out, “Thank You!” as we were struggling to get debris into trash bags that constantly stuck closed in the soggy circumstances.
Another organization, The White Rock Lake Foundation, is similarly committed to the lake, working with the City of Dallas Parks & Recreation to preserve and restore the lake. The map below is provided by this foundation:
As you might imagine, the constant rain was not conducive to counting debris items with pen and paper. Nevertheless, when I returned to the FTLOTL office, I saw that 3 clipboards with soggy data cards were propped up against a table, with a fan blowing on them to dry the paper. A group of schoolkids in the National Junior Honor Society from G.B. Dealy Junior High had come out and did their very best to collect data for the Ocean Conservancy. I met FTLOTL board member Ray Matthews, who carefully transferred the information recorded on the soggy paper to a new, dry data card so that the information it contained would be safe.
I am so humbled – and enlivened – by the goodness I witnessed in the kids and adults this weekend. This common love of nature and the extreme value placed upon the lake and its surrounding parks and wildlife, obliterated any differences of politics, race, or other divisive human issues. It was simply good for the soul. I’m hooked!