July 27, 2008

Scout’s Project Focuses on Environment: Project Targets Likely Waste-Dumping Areas

By Andrea Brown, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Jul. 27--Wearing masks and gloves and wielding cans of red spray paint, about 25 teens took to the streets Saturday.

Darting into manicured subdivisions, they jumped out of vans, laughing as they brazenly used a stencil to leave behind a permanent freaky fish figure and message on sidewalks.

By the time it was over, DUMP NO WASTE -- DRAINS TO STREAM was sprayed over about 150 storm drains.

"I try to aim big," said 15-year-old Christian Clark.

The mass graffiti event was for his Eagle Scout project on Fountain Creek Watershed Preservation.

"I've heard about problems with dumping and Fountain Creek," the Rampart High School sophomore said. "It has increased more with motor oil and car cleaners and trash. It's senseless. Hopefully, this project will make a difference."

Stormwater is a main source of water flow to this region's watershed. Drains are the entry point in the storm sewer system and eventually discharge -- untreated -- into major drainage ways such as Fountain and Monument creeks.

The project entailed more than graffiti. Christian mapped the routes. He diagramed drain sites. He collected donations from King Soopers, Starbucks and Papa John's to feed friends and fellow Scouts from Troop 246.

"This morning I woke up and my first thought was, 'What if people don't show up?'" he said. "I was in a crisis stage."

Not to worry. Five crews of teens showed up at 8 a.m. for the all-day project.

Drains in Briargate and Powers Boulevard areas were targeted. The teens also hung about 1,250 leaflets on doors to raise public awareness to not put things like grease, pesticides and grass clippings down drains.

Jeff Besse, Colorado Springs stormwater specialist, said the city provides stencil kits from its education fund.

"There is a cost benefit," Besse said. "It's not a highdollar project."

Other Eagle Scouts have done similar projects.

"I'm glad to be helping the environment," Christian said.

"Polluting stinks," added his friend Devin Kastrup, 15.

The teens admired their bright red artwork on the pavement.

"Looks beautiful," said Erik Contino, 15.

"This would usually be against the law," Devin noted.

Contact the writer: 636-0253 or [email protected]


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