MCCARRAN RANCH PRESERVE, Nev. (KOLO) - With clipboards and pickup sticks in hand, 32 sixth graders from Sage Ridge School cleaned up along the Truckee River. They got to see for themselves how much garbage collects along the banks.
"When you come down, you look and think it's so clean, but you get a closer view and there's like so much trash," says Kevin, one of the students on the field trip.
The students spent the day at the Nature Conservancy's McCarran Ranch Preserve near Mustang, where the Truckee River is higher than it has been in years.
"It's really great for them to see what's flowing down river from these high waters that we're having," says Lori Leonard with the Nature Conservancy.
"They're not only looking at what's in the river, but they're going okay, what does that say about our community?" says Kylee Stevens with Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful.
And the students are building a bigger social conscience.
"All the trash that's here at the Nature Conservancy comes upstream from Reno and Sparks and their school is in Reno.," says Stevens. "So when they're walking along the River Walk in Downtown Reno, they're more likely to pick it up because if it gets kicked into the river, it's going to go into this beautiful place."
The timing of the field trip couldn't have been better. With higher river levels, the amount of garbage is more noticeable as well. Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful says now is the time to hold its largest cleanup event to date.
"Twenty four sites," says Stevens. "All the way from Crystal Peak out here to Mustang."
Last year, nearly 750 volunteered to take part in the Great Community Cleanup. This year, it's scheduled for May 6 and organizers are hoping to get 1,000 volunteers.
These sixth graders from Sage Ridge say it's a good way to help out our environment and also have a good time.
"It is a blast! It is so much fun to see all the different wildlife and see how you can help them," says sixth grader Olivia.