April 29, 2009


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

What can you say about the effort that the students of Watford City High School, who under the guidance of several of their teachers, completely cleaned up the flood debris at the city’s Tourist Park last Wednesday as an Earth Day project, other than “Wow!” and “Thanks!”.
If you had driven by the Tourist Park after the Cherry Creek flood waters had receded, you know what a mess the park was. There were weeds and debris tangled in all of the shrubs, several inches of silt covered most of the grass in the picnic area, the majority of the trees close to the creek had bark hanging from their trunks after being hit by massive chunks of ice, and hunks of pavement had been torn up on the roadway as a result of the flooding.
Words cannot adequately describe the mess that the Tourist Park was in.
And if the job of cleaning up the Tourist Park had been left solely to the Park District’s small staff, the cleanup would have taken virtually all summer.
But instead of having summer visitors to the park greeted by an unsightly mess, thanks to the hard work of nearly 150 junior high and high school students last Wednesday, the park was cleaned up in a matter of hours.
One couldn’t help but be extremely proud watching the youth of our community scurrying around the Tourist Park armed with rakes, shovels and wheel barrows and attacking the mess that lay before them. They didn’t dodge the tasks that were assigned to them, and in most situations they all had smiles on their faces. Instead of complaining about cleaning up the park, they took pride in helping restore it to its natural beauty.
There couldn’t possibly have been a better Earth Day learning experience for these students than what they accomplished. They could have sat in a classroom and had a teacher lecture to them for an hour about the importance of caring for the Earth. Or they could have missed out on a few hours of classes and actually volunteer their time and energy in bringing an Earth Day project to reality.
So this week, a “tip of my hat” goes to all of the students and their teachers at Watford City High School who took it upon themselves to help clean up the Tourist Park. You made us proud!