The clean up event consisted of not only litter removal around Pinole Creek, but also the removal of English ivy, an extremely invasive species surrounding the creek.
Our interns began with litter removal as they provided the volunteers with trash pickers and garbage bags. Also, they took this time to create a bond with each and every one of the volunteers through conversation during this event. While some continued with the litter removal, other interns shifted into the removal of the English ivy, which was very significant for the native species. As an invasive species, the English ivy suffocated the surrounding native plants of nutrients, sunlight, and water. With that in mind, our EarthTeam members and volunteers tried to remove as much of the ivy as they can in order to relieve some of the native plants around the creek. After the clean up event, the interns gathered around to educate the volunteers about the native species of Pinole and gave out a survey to the volunteers for their feedback on the event. The surveys were then put into a box and the interns picked out names of the winners of the free Chipotle gift cards.
Everyone who participated in the Pinole Valley clean up event ended up winning a gift card as one of our interns was able to receive ten gift cards to give out. Our volunteers left the event with smiles on their faces as every one of them won a gift card despite being told that they would only have a chance at winning one.
As our volunteers left, the interns began to reflect upon the past year as an EarthTeam intern and discussed the valuable skills they have achieved and the memorable experiences throughout the internship. Not only has this event allowed for our interns to bond with the students of Pinole Valley and educate them about the native species of Pinole Creek, but it has allowed our interns to reflect on their experience with one another and how they have grown throughout their time at EarthTeam.