Green River Star -

By David Martin

Students clean up along Highway 530


David Martin

Expedition Academy senior Baylee Morgan carries a bag of garbage for placement along the highway.

Even along some of Wyoming's most desolate highways, hints of human civilization can still be found.

Trash including drink bottles, shredded tires, plastic grocery bags, snack wrappers and more can be found along any road in the Cowboy State. While many drive along and shake their heads at the sight, a few take matters into their own hands and pick up what others carelessly leave behind.

Last week, students from Expedition Academy spent a few hours bagging garbage left behind on a two-mile stretch of Wyoming Highway 530 south of Green River. Working between mile markers 20 and 22, the students collected several dozen bags of garbage along the road.

"It's a great opportunity to get the kids out and be part of the community," Expedition Island Principal Ralph Obray said.

Obray said students at the school are required to perform 20 hours of community service a year, with the school providing opportunities for them to complete 16 hours during the course of a school year. In the past, students have worked at the Berto Castillon Recycling Center and have helped cleanup school grounds throughout Sweetwater County School District No. 2.

In this case, students are prohibited from picking up hazardous items such as broken bottles and syringes, but that restriction didn't stop them from finding some odd things along the road.

One student found a large straw once filled with candy powder laced with THC. According to the tag on the straw, it originated from a marijuana dispensary in Denver. Brooke Anderson, a junior at EA, found a sign with the word "sheriff" printed on it. She decided to keep it.

"One kid said 'from the evidence, there should have been a few DUIs,'" Obray said.

The school officially adopted that portion of the highway through the Wyoming Department of Transportation's Adopt a Highway program, which allows groups to claim portions of the state's highways for cleaning. A sign identifying the school's section will be placed sometime during the next two or three months.

Many of the students said they enjoyed the chance to get out and help pick up garbage.

"I like working with EA, they make the community service fun," Korey Wilson, a senior at the school said. "It's good we're doing this."

On the surface, the students simply cleaned trash from the side of a road.

But on a deeper level, it was a team building experience for those helping out.

"A lot of you made the comparison of us being a family," Obray said before the students loaded onto the bus to leave. "We did a great thing for the community."


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