Noelia Dimas walked around the Marine Creek Lake Trail reluctantly picking up water bottles.
Picking up litter was far from how Noelia, a sophomore at Chisholm Trail High School, wanted to spend a Saturday morning, making up time for missing classes.
Her view changed once she picked up a brush, dipped it into dark green paint and freshened up a faded bridge at the lake in northwest Fort Worth, just north of NW Loop 820.
Noelia, 16, was one of about 300 Chisholm Trail High School students who participated recently in the Trash Bash at Marine Creek Lake. The Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD school sits near the north end of the lake.
Students spent the cold and breezy morning walking the trails around the lake, beautifying the area while enjoying nature.
“I’m glad I came out because I saw a bunch of animals. I saw some turtles and ducks,” Noelia said.
Junior Caroline Duley, 16, wants to maintain the beauty of the lake. She mostly picked up water bottles and paper cups near the lake.
Marine Creek Lake is a special place for Caroline. She once canoed from one side of the lake and back for a volleyball team bonding exercise. She also has spent weekends walking around the trials with her family.
“We have this great resource for our school and community at our fingertips,” Caroline said. “We might as well keep it clean.”
The effort was a collaboration between Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD and the Tarrant Regional Water District to promote community service to students.
Chisholm Trail Principal Winston McCowan Jr. approached a committee of 50 students from clubs and sports teams about a community project. Many of the students suggested a cleanup day at the lake, he said.
The school’s administrators loved the idea and Carla Hardy, an assistant principal, contacted the Tarrant Regional Water District to hash out the details, McCowan said.
“(The water district) was like, ‘Just so happens, we’re having something on April 22,’” McCowan said.
The collaboration shows how much Chisholm Trail High School is engaged within the community, McCowan said.
“I’m really big on community involvement, and I’m instilling this into my students,” McCowan said.
Caroline, one of the students, was glad that many of her peers could not find trash around the lake.
“It’s a good problem to have. It just showed that a lot of kids showed up today, and it made my heart happy,” Caroline said.
Noelia and other students spent about two hours repainting the bridge. They put their brushes down and stepped back. They admired their work.
Noelia took in her surroundings. She realized the lake was a beautiful place, especially on a Saturday morning.
“I’d rather keep it clean than have it go to waste,” Noelia said.
Juan Salinas II is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.