News: Center Hill Lake benefits from 'trashy' leadership teambuilding
Story by Leon Roberts
SILVER POINT, Tenn. – Leadership Development Program students from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District participated in a “trashy” team-building exercise, Oct. 1, near Edgar Evins State Park on the shoreline of Center Hill Lake.
The group culminated the district’s National Public Lands Day activities by scouring the area and removing 25 bags of trash and other bulky debris. Lake wide, there were three volunteer groups totaling 203 volunteers. Altogether, they collected 670 bags of trash, 25 tires, and other items such as Styrofoam floatation devices, boat hulls, broken kayaks, and steel drums.
Center Hill Lake Park Ranger Gary Bruce, who is also an LDP student, said the class wanted to help clean up the shoreline to give something back to the corps and to use it as a learning experience.
He said they did it to pick up trash and create awareness of the problems that exist at the lake.
“We have over 3 million visitors annually that come to Center Hill Lake and that’s a lot of trash that is generated throughout the ‘rec’ season,” Bruce said. “During this time of year the ‘rec’ season is winding down and all the trash settles on the shoreline.”
Throughout the morning the students explored and coordinated to collect and remove anything that could be harmful to the environment.
Amanda Burt, who works in the Nashville District Project Planning Branch and is also an LDP student, said working with her fellow employees to pick up debris helps to build camaraderie, but also it allows them all to participate in a corps mission that they may not ordinarily be a part of. The effort to keep the shoreline clean is also an attractive reason for participating, she said.
“It’s very important to keep the environment clean, both for the quality of the soil and land, but also because the trash and pollutants leak into the water, and we have fish and environmental resources in the water,” Burt said. “But it also makes us aware of possible times when we might throw something out. I know I won’t be throwing a can on the ground ever again.”
The Nashville District’s LDP program is administered by the Belmont University Center for Executive Education. The students are encouraged to participate in volunteer activities as part of the course.
Lisa Maxwell, a budget analyst at the Nashville District, said she is impressed with the LDP class so far and thinks cleaning up Center Hill Lake is a great thing.
“I hate that there is this much trash and people who litter,” Maxwell said. “I always hate that part, but feel good that we got it out of here. It just makes me feel good that we’re helping the environment.”
Other LDP students who participated include Linda Adcock, Rob Baulsir, David Bishop, Mike Callahan, Jim Carter and his wife Barbara, and Jamie James.
Bruce said the Corps is also very appreciative of everyone in the public who volunteered their time to spruce up the lake. In addition, he thanked Kaye Tuggle at Edgar Evins Marina for providing a rental boat free of charge to the LDP class to reach the shoreline and haul away the litter.
Other sponsors who helped promote the cleanup at Center Hill Lake include the following businesses in Cookeville, Tenn.: Dominoes, Papa John’s, Bellacinoe’s, Papa Murphy’s, Subway (Willow Ave.), Food Lion (W. Jackson Street), Food Lion (Highway 70), Frito Lay, IGA, Pepsi, Coke, Nestle, Big O Donuts, and Ralph’s Donuts.
Bumpers and Food Lion in Smithville, Tenn.; Little Caesar’s and Floyd’s Cash Food Saver Foods in Sparta, Tenn.; Dominoes in McMinnville, Tenn.; Flower’s Bakery in Crossville, Tenn., Nestle Waters of North America in Red Boling Springs, Tenn.; and Hurricane Marina, Center Hill Marina, and Edgar Evins Marina were also donors or supporters.
For more information about Edgar Evins State Park, go to http://www.tn.gov/environment/parks/edgarevins/. To find out more information on participating in National Public Lands Day, visit http://www.publiclandsday.org/. For more information on USACE recreation opportunities visit www.corpslakes.us. Center Hill Lake also has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/centerhilllake.