Amarillo Zoo will host Thompson Park cleanup

Lisa Hellier

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Trash floats at the edge of Thompson lake. Photo by Lisa Hellier.

Trash floats at the edge of Thompson lake. Photo by Lisa Hellier.

Web Editor’s Note: To see more photos of the lake, click here.

On April 14, the Amarillo Zoo will be hosting a clean up project in which participants will help clear up lake and creek shorelines throughout Thompson Park. The event will last from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“We selected the lakes since they are adjacent to the zoo and are enjoyed by many visitors in addition to local and migratory wildlife,” Mike Boley, Amarillo Zoo visitor services coordinator, said. “Each year thousands of waterfowl and songbirds visit the lake for shelter and food, and keeping the water and shorelines clear of trash benefits them. Plus, other wildlife including turtles, frogs, fish, insects and small mammals depend on the lakes for survival.”

Volunteers are invited to attend a free hotdog barbecue that starts at 1 p.m., right after the clean up. “We’re helping the community and the community is helping us,” Amarillo Zoo Educator Jessica Hammons said. “We do [volunteer projects] every year, and the community gives 100 percent to make it better for everyone.”

Rebecca Mitchell, an Amarillo College student and Amarillo Zoo volunteer, said the area gets a lot of trash scattered about and believes it is important to help clean it up for the environment and the local wildlife. Mitchell is the secretary of a program called STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Club), and after she mentioned the clean up project, the group decided to help.

“It is a great way to get our name out because we are a brand new club,” Mitchell said.

The Thompson Park clean up is in conjunction with Amarillo Zoo’s Conservation Celebration- Bringing Back the Wild event taking place on April 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is an event designed to educate people of all ages about the importance of protecting endangered species. There will be exhibits and activities focusing on endangered wildlife, recycling and conversation.

“The zoo does many special events each year to encourage visitors to come out and learn about wildlife and the natural world plus learn how they can play an important role in making sure we have a healthy environment in the future,” said Boley. “The zoo plans to develop and organize other efforts where folks, young and old, can take an active role in shaping the environment for the better.”

Project organizers request that everyone volunteering wear suitable clothing for outdoor work and that each person brings a pair of sturdy work gloves. All volunteers have to sign a volunteer service agreement prior to or at the day of the event. For more information or to RSVP, call the Amarillo Zoo office at 806-381-7911.

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