National Honor Society takes action to save environment

Clean up project benefits community


Reese Fields

Photo of clean up site, Ocean Lakes East neighborhood park.

Reese Fields, Staff Writer

National Honor Society recently created a volunteer opportunity for their organization by planning to adopt the Ocean Lakes East neighborhood park.

“This is a new initiative provided by President Sean Diment, it is a bi-monthly commitment where we go every two months and report back to the city,” said co-sponsor Amy Jo Harrell.

Adopting the park provides a long-term commitment to serve and maintain a major part of the local community.

“We are adopting a park because we want to promote eco-friendly and sustainable policies in the National Honor Society,” said President Sean Diment. “We believe it will engage more students in understanding how trash can pile up, and also signify the importance of community service.”

The Honor Society wanted to choose a location that would be relatively close to the school.

“There were three in the vicinity, one was already adopted, and one we thought was too large to be feasible,” said Harrell.

The park is relatively small and manageable, with about 10-15 members out of 100 going to work on the project at a time.

Students will spend time helping the environment by keeping the park safe and litter free. Litter is a pollutant, and makes the area unsafe and unclear.

“First off, we will pick up as many cigarettes that pollute the park as possible,” said Sean. “This will prevent children and animals from interacting with them.”

Many animals accidentally ingest cigarettes believing they are food, making them sick or even killing them.

“Members have cleaned up the Virginia Aquarium and General Booth Boulevard, and the last time five of us picked up 1,006 cigarettes along a half mile stretch of road,” said Sean.

Although, technically cigarette butts are biodegradable, it takes them over two years to completely break down.

According to Tobacco Free Life, “Each year, 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are disposed of. A generous estimate is that half of them end up in landfills – the other half ends up in soil, lakes, oceans, and forests.”

Cleaning the park is going to be highly beneficial to the environment as well as the community.

“Adopting a park shows our pride and willingness to help the community and shows that we care about Ocean Lakes, and want to keep her clean,” said Sean.

The project is extended out to members of other clubs and members of the surrounding neighborhoods who want to get involved in the clean up.

“We welcome the help if students would like to volunteer to assist the Honor Society, but it will be primarily the responsibility of the Honor Society,” said Harrell.

The Parks and Recreation Department has officially approved of the park adoption process as of Dec. 5, Sean hopes to get the project completely into action by March of 2018.

“For us at the National Honor Society, we do care a lot, and we want to do our share of the work and ensure that our children and grandchildren may enjoy not just the parks, but the planet as a whole. We want to have a positive snowball effect, and I know that if we work together, our community and environment will be in the best shape,” said Sean. “That’s the dolphin way: putting forth the best effort for the best result.”