About 100 students from the Interact clubs of all three high schools in Hilliard banded together Saturday, Sept. 28, to remove trash and debris from Big Darby Creek.
The students also had an impromptu forensic lesson after discovering bone fragments of various animals and what was believed to be the skull of a fox.
Students worked in a two-mile section of the creek bed next to Creek Road, just south of Scioto Darby Road and at the Franklin-Madison county line.
Among the students who participated were seniors Jason Ng, president of Davidson's Interact Club, and Kinsey Cantrell, president of Bradley's Interact Club. The clubs are affiliated with the Hilliard Rotary Club and Rotary International.
"It is a rewarding experience to know we can help make our world a little better place," said Ng, describing the experience of digging a tire out of deep mud in the creek.
As a freshman, Ng attended a club fair where he learned about numerous clubs and extracurricular activities available for students, including Interact Club.
The club at Davidson has almost doubled in size from about 60 to 110 members while Ng has been a member.
Cantrell joined Interact Club as a sophomore and said she learned she has a passion for community development and improvement.
"Being a member of Interact (Club), I found I enjoyed working with others not only to create a better community within our schools, but also outside our school by making things better throughout the community," Cantrell said.
Elizabeth Hummel, student adviser for the Davidson Interact Club, said the organization has another benefit.
"I think Interact Club helps students develop as leaders, as well as benefiting our community," Hummel said.
Darby junior Wallia Saif joined the Interact Club last year after her cousin, who since graduated from Bradley, invited her to participate in a cleanup event.
Since then, Saif said, she has "been inspired to do even more."
"It's a great way for me to meet people and become involved in the community," Saif said.
"Hilliard is such a great place to live and it makes me feel satisfied to give something back," she said.
The Interact clubs inherited the annual cleanup of Big Darby Creek from the Hilliard Rotary Club.
Steve Hughes, past president of the Hilliard Rotary Club, organizes the event. The Rotary Club also provides breakfast and lunch for the students.
This year, students were able to see the fruits of their labor, Hughes said.
"The creek looked a little cleaner this year," Hughes said. "There wasn't quite as much trash, and while we were working, someone stopped their car and got out to thank us."