On Saturday, Sept. 21, at 9:30 a.m., 110 Kenyon students and faculty members attended the annual Kokosing River Clean Up — the biggest turnout in its history.
With the help of so many, an entire dumpster was filled to the brim with trash, with several dozen tires piled beside it. From student-athletes, to members of Greek organizations, to friend groups looking for a way to spend their Saturday, the diverse array of attendees each demonstrated devotion for protecting the river ecosystem.
“It’s a really powerful community-building event,” Director of Green Initiatives David Heithaus ’99 said, “and it shows that people value a resource that I value, and that, despite our differences, we can all agree that this is a literal through line in our lives, in our county, and that it’s pretty special when you get that many people out for a cause at 9:30 on a Saturday.”
Stretching over 57 miles, the Kokosing River runs through the heart of Mount Vernon and Gambier. Only recently did the cleanup gain the momentum necessary for growth. Heithaus has been an annual attendant of the River Clean Up for the past four years, but never expected it to take off as it has.
“The first year I participated, around four years ago, we worked from Riverside Park in Mount Vernon down to Mount Vernon Avenue, which is a tiny fraction of what we do now,” Heithaus said. The current cleanup zone includes not only the Kokosing, but also the Mohican River.
Cleaning out the Kokosing is just one of the many ways students can be made aware of their environmental impact. BFEC Post-Baccalaureate Fellow Mia Fox ’19 hopes that all students can be more environmentally conscious in the upcoming years. “One thing that I think is really vital for making people more ecologically minded is making sure people have a connection to the outside, be it through research, be it through hiking, whatever you like to do, having a connection outside makes being more ecologically minded easy.”