Skunk River Tradition

One of the greatest things about the Honors Program at Iowa State is that Honors Students are involved in tons of other exciting events all across campus.   One of my favorite fall activities is the Skunk River Navy.  The Biology Program organizes this event, but students from all different areas of interest participate each year.  From an outsider’s perspective, it looks like about 100 students and volunteers arriving at the Skunk River, taking a biological diversity assessment of the organisms present and then spending the rest of the day clearing trash from the river.  Now, the hard part to explain is why spending a whole Saturday picking trash out of a river has been a favorite part of my Fall for three years in a row.   Sometimes I think it’s the feel of adventure you get when you’re away from campus and using a canoe, not to float in, but rather to fill with trash while you yourself must tromp through the riverbed.  In rain or shine, flooded or dried up conditions, you’ll always have great stories of accomplishment after the trip about how you survived.  Sometimes I think it’s that pat-yourself-on-the-back feeling for doing a good deed while you look around the river and see the beautiful fall colors and you just end up getting completely overwhelmed with emotion.  But sometimes, and this is most of the time, I think the real reason I love the day so much despite the hard work is because of the people who are there with me.  Whether they’re Biology students or Honors students, new friends or old friends, it’s those smiles and laughter I’ve shared with them throughout the day that keep bringing me back.


Posted by Kelcy

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