The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Mat-Su elementary students help with clean-up during visit


Willow Elementary third-graders climb over the rocks on the beach while collecting garbage on Saturday during their visit to the Alaska SeaLife Center. The students spent the night in the center and then contributed to the community's clean-up effort the next day.

When Willow Elementary third-graders found out they were going to get a chance to end the 2016-17 school year with a special overnight visit to the AlaskaSeaLife Center, they knew they would be in store to pick up lots of knowledge and fun. They also decided they would chip in and help locals pick up debris as part of the Seward Clean-Up Day program.

On Saturday, more than 20 students scattered along the beach and walkway near the Iditarod Trail marker and began removing trash and other items. The group, which was participating in the clean-up effort as part of the school's efforts to promote community service, collected several bags of refuse, and more than a few objects to talk about, including a rusted letter J that had washed up on the rocks.

"I think it is a great thing for them to learn," said Chiara Gerlach, whose daughter, Kaci, was among the group collecting items on the beach. "This is a good thing for them to do."

After helping with the clean-up, the students got a chance to get a little closer to the bigger animals in Resurrection Bay, courtesy of a whale tour from Kenai Fjords Tours.

Gerlach said the Willow third-graders spent much of the year fund-raising to cover the cost of the trip, which allowed them to spend the night in the Alaska SeaLife Center on Friday.

"I think they all enjoyed themselves," she said.


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