A while back someone said to me, “You’re an environmentalist, Right? It’s OK if you are.” Wow, as if there might be some shame in it. I asked what he thought an environmentalist is and he said “You know, tree-huggers.” I’m fine with be called an “Environmentalist.” Although, I’ve never actually hugged a tree, I do spend a lot of time outdoors. I Love all sorts of outdoor activities and just being outside takes the edge off my stress.
The clean-ups have become their own outdoor adventure. I get to hike through the woods hunting for litter or float on a river fishing for tires. To me it’s all fun. The big surprise is how so many people have as much fun as I do trudging through the mud in summer and the snow in winter to clean up a stream. We are usually smiling, laughing, working out hearts out and are usually seen carrying a tire—or sometimes half a motorcycle.
Growing up I was the kid with allergies and was rarely able to go outdoors. So naturally, I cherish every walk, hike, float, fishing trip, camping trip, bon fire – you get the idea. The appreciation I have for all these outdoor pursuits eventually lead to my first Stream Team Clean-up in. At my first clean-up I hiked river banks in Arnold Park, canoed across the Meramec River, dug out a bunch of tires, hauled a half of motorcycle out of a jon boat, got my picture in the paper and had a cook-out– all in the same day. That was ten years ago and that first clean-up is with me always.
This is the culture of the Stream Team. It’s difficult to explain why we love it so much; let’s just say, “it’s a Stream Team, thing.” We’re a bunch of people that love the outdoors and have a great time taking care of it together. This coming weekend of October 14th to 15th we’re going after one of our biggest clean-ups yet. I hope all of you can be with me on the Black River.
You-know—now that I think about it, I just might go and hug a tree.
Doug Geist, President League of Watershed Guardians
For information about the Black River clean-up please follow this link: