CCAC honor society students will clean waterways for Hays bald eagles on Saturday, April 25
PITTSBURGH—Members of Alpha Mu Theta, a local chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at CCAC’s Allegheny Campus, are looking to get their hands dirty this weekend as they help to make local waterways cleaner for the bald eagles and other wildlife that live along the Monongahela River in Hays. The chapter is conducting a clean-up event for its Urban Raptor Project on Saturday, April 25, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. along Duck Hollow Trail.
Under the leadership of chapter president Valerie Rizzo, the honor society developed the Urban Raptor Project for the chapter’s annual Honors in Action initiative. The idea came about after the group volunteered last year with Allegheny Clean Ways and the Tireless Project to clean up the trash that litters local rivers. The experiences enlightened the students on the importance of a clean environment for local wildlife. After doing some research, the students decided to focus their efforts on cleaning the waterways that are most essential for the well-being of the bald eagles that nest in Hays. The volunteers will travel by trail as well as by boat, to collect trash at the base of riverbanks that are not accessible by trail.
“We all love Pittsburgh, and we all love the rivers—the bonus is that we’ve been blessed with having these eagles here for a couple of years,” said Rizzo. Keeping the rivers and banks in the vicinity clean is essential, as the raptors main source of food is fish and they typically don’t go very far from their nest, she added.
To fund the project, the chapter raised $1,200 to rent the “Rachel Carson” pontoon boat and captain, dumpster and other supplies. The students raised money by selling T-shirts and paper eagles, soliciting donations from local businesses and conducting an online fundraising campaign. The response has been enthusiastic, and organizers are hoping to have at least 50 volunteers, including students from other organizations, as well as professors and administrators at Allegheny Campus.