Environmental Club Volunteers with Friends of the Kaw

Students reintroduce native plant species along the Lawrence River Trails


Emily Kruse

Senior Pierce Saturday shoots water gun while volunteering at the river clean up. Saturday is a member of Environmental Club, who participated with the River Restoration Project, run by Friends of the Kaw, on April 10th.

By Izzy Hedges, Yearbook Copy Editor

The Environmental Club partook in the River Restoration project on April 10 to restore native plants among the Lawrence River Trails and the Kansas River, known locally as the Kaw.

Sponsor and science teacher Lisa Ball has been in contact with Friends of the Kaw for several years, and informed the Environmental Club of the opportunity to participate in the restoration project. Student volunteers participated in replanting and learned the importance of reintroducing native plants.

I think that volunteerism is one of the essential things we should instill in our students at LHS,” Ball said. “It is so important to give back to a cause that is near and dear to our hearts.  Our help is needed throughout the community and giving back helps students develop empathy and citizenship.”

Friends of the Kaw, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the Kansas river from pollution sources, was provided a grant to work on the restoration project that invited the Environmental Club to volunteer.

“I pulled weeds and a bunch of stuff that I was assigned to do, and after that we replanted new plants and soils,” junior volunteer Aryaf Muyidi said. “I care about the environment, I will do anything I can to help the environment, that’s why I personally do it.”

The Environmental Club regularly takes part in trash pickups at the KU campus and weeding, but this project was the club’s first experience restoring native plants along the river trails.

“Well on one level, it lets people actually do these things, so the Friends of the Kaw needed that done to help with the drainage.” senior volunteer Joey Craft said. “If it’s not high school students, it’s some other volunteer. It’s nice to have plenty of volunteers there.”

River restoration is a vital aspect of decreasing pollutants in the Kansas`3 River and in improving water quality and wildlife habitat. The Environmental Club volunteers gained knowledge on plant and animal species along the Lawrence River Trails, and reintroduced plant species into the area.

“I think it’s important that it isn’t just Environmental Club that’s involved, we want everybody to be involved,” senior volunteer Olivia Percich said. “This is a community-world problem, everybody needs to start taking more action. Starting small, at home, and doing things to reduce your waste.”