Both young and old community volunteers helped clean up around Success Lake on Saturday, September 28, during National Public Lands Day where community members and organizations are encouraged to help clean and spruce up national parks and local publicly used lands.

Both the Boy Scout and Cub Scout Pack 3116 have been enthusiastically working on the weekends at Success campgrounds, and the Cub Scouts were cleaning up and repainting the curbs red. Johnathan said, “I’m having a good time helping with the curbs and cleaning.”

Rebecca Dudley, a parent with the Cub Scouts, said, “I think it’s a good opportunity for the kids to learn responsibility, and they can take pride in the work they’ve done when they come to visit the park.” 

 “This is great,” said Edwin Diaz enthusiastically, “Helping the community to clean up and restore the environment around the lake. This is my backyard. I love Springville and Camp Wishon, and the river system. There are so many beautiful places to swim.” He remarked at how overcast it was, and pointed to the gray clouds over the mountains, and said, “It feels like we’re at the ocean. It’s so cool out.”

Retired Porterville College CHAPS Director Richard Osborne and his wife Ginny, were out taking photographs for the Army Corps of Engineers and enjoying the delightful weather and stopped by to say hello. They have been volunteering at Success Lake for years with PC students and privately.

Monache Environmental Science Academy (ESA) students and AVID students were all weeding, raking, and helping restore gardens and various areas around the parkways.

Amanda Driver, the academy director, said, “Between the two high school programs we have 52 people to help clean up, and a part of the programs is community service. All of the students are enjoying themselves, and they are all eager to help.”

This is the second year in ESA for Jose Castro, 16, and he said he helped install a water system last year in some of the natural garden areas at the campgrounds. “This year there is a big difference. It’s a lot cleaner this year and it looks a lot better.”

Farther east in the campgrounds where there is a lot of work to be done to restore the grounds, a couple of different groups of Porterville Military Academy cadets were digging holes, loading wheelbarrows, and raking gravel industriously. Wearing a PMA T-shirts, cadet Celia Acosta, 15, said, “This is really hard,” as she used a shovel to put dirt in a wheelbarrow, and said all the student were making a huge effort, and said, “It’s good for the kids to give up their weekend to help the environment.” 

Classmates Ashley Shanks, 16, and Valerie Marquez, both said they “loved helping out and it felt really good to help clean up the environment.” Tristan Galvan, one of the lead cadets, was also raking gravel with the PMA cadets.

Back toward the campground entrance Monache students were still working, raking and cleaning up around large trees. Alexa Queenan, 16, was raking up pine needles and other debris, with the help of her father, Sean Queenan, and brother Ian, 15. Her ESA senior project is using different methods to clean her specific plot of ground at the campgrounds, and getting her classmates to help and come out and enjoy nature. 

Their friend Anthony Awawdeh, 17, was also helping, and said he has been involved in ESA all four years, and his senior project is determining all the California native plants that are on the Monache campus and how well they are thriving in their current ecosystems. Alexa said, “There are so many of us in ESA, and so many of us are so knowledgeable.” 

“It’s the best pathways ever,” said Awawdeh, ”It gives you a lot of freedoms. We get to go on field trips.” 

“And, especially once you’re a sophomore you can go on overnight field trips,” said Ian, “It’s great because you can go outside and work, and make a difference.”

Both young men enthusiastically spoke about the ESA program, and said, “We learned about recycling. We learned about plant ecology.” And Awawdeh continued, “We learned about ecology and the ideal environment, solar and energy efficiency, and then we do our senior projects.”

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