SGSC Students Participate in Rivers Alive Cleanup Project

By Amy Hancock
External Affairs Coordinator

During the fall of the year, you may see students and faculty members of South Georgia State College walking along the creek areas on the west side of Douglas with trash bags in hand. If so, they were participating with the Satilla Riverkeeper and friends at a watershed wide Rivers Alive Satilla River Cleanup. The groups worked with Kevin Davis, project manager for the company that manages the city’s water treatment plant and Ryne Nimmo, regional environment planner from Valdosta.  Approximately thirty students participated in the event.

This event was conducted to help remedy the chronic trash problems on the Satilla River – particularly at popular river access locations – that negatively impact the river’s water quality, wildlife, fishes and the public’s recreational experience on the water. The group picked up thirty large bags of trash, a swing set, trampoline, car seat, baby crib, and many other large items.

Bobbi Hancock, Instructor of Sociology at SGSC, feels that service learning is an excellent opportunity to break the barriers of the classroom wall. Ms. Hancock says, “Service learning provides students with opportunities to develop civic engagement skills. By working in the community, students can enhance their group, organizational and interpersonal skills by working hand-in-hand with other students and other members of the community. They also can gain important experience working with diverse members of the campus community as well”.

The cleanup was in partnership with Rivers Alive, Georgia's annual volunteer waterway cleanup event that targets all waterways in the State including streams, rivers, lakes, beaches, and wetlands, while creating awareness and involvement in the preservation of Georgia's water resources. Community partners for this event included the Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division, Rivers Alive Program and Coastal Resources Division, ESG Operations Inc., Advanced Disposal, Republic Services, Satilla River Water Trail partnership, Carter Environmental, Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, SGSC, College of Coastal Georgia Biology Club, Keep Golden Isles Beautiful and the Friends of the Satilla River.

South Georgia State College and the Satilla Riverkeeper established an educational partnership in 2014 and created the Satilla Riverkeeper and South Georgia State College Education and Training Alliance. Events such as the waterway cleanup are ways the partnership connects students with learning and awareness opportunities. It gives access to ecological sites in this part of the State in order to engage students in being stewards of their communities and waterways.

For more information about how volunteers can get involved with the Satilla Riverkeeper, please contact 912-510-9500. The Satilla Riverkeeper is a 501(c)3 organization established in 2004 whose mission it is to protect, restore and educate about the unique and beautiful blackwater Satilla River.

River Cleanup

Participants in this year’s cleanup were Makayla Clark (McRae, Ga.), Whitley Simons (Douglas, Ga.), Deja Gibbs (Austell, Ga.), Sarah Johnson (Broxton, Ga.), Hannah Wooten (Douglas, Ga.), Brandon Peterson (Douglas, Ga.), Daisy Carillo (Douglas, Ga.), Loren Mertz (Nahunta, Ga.), Sarah Smith (Mableton, Ga.), Amber Cason (Patterson, Ga.), Amy Cash (Baxley, Ga.), Ashleigh Paulk (Douglas, Ga.), Jaime Turner-Davis (Douglas, Ga.), Aaron Sturgis (Douglas, Ga.), Megan Farmer (Macclenny, Fla.), Halie Pearce (Baxley, Ga.), Jessica Kifferly (Richmond Hill, Ga.), Emma Todd (Waycross, Ga.), Misty Troup (Douglas, Ga.), Jay Graham (Douglas, Ga.), John Wilson (Baxley, Ga.), Roberto Arambulo (Douglas, Ga.), Bobbi Hancock (Valdosta, Ga.), Kevin Davis (City of Douglas, Douglas, Ga.), and Ryne Nimmo (Southern Georgia Environmental Planner, Valdosta, Ga.).