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An uplifting way to keep shoreline beautiful

Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Letter to the Editor

I was fishing on Busse Lake in the northwest suburbs of Chicago one day. The fishing was great along that stretch of woods. I really felt good after having caught a variety of good-size fish.

You know how it is when you see bottles, cans and other litter in the forest preserves. You say to yourself, ''How can people litter our beautiful woods like this?'' All the time, you keep walking over the litter, doing nothing and thinking, ''When are they going to do something about this litter problem?''

Well, on that day, feeling great, I filled my five-gallon bucket with some of this stuff and carried it to a trash barrel in the parking lot. I then said to myself, ''What the heck -- I've got a little extra time,'' and I took a couple of garbage bags out of my car and commenced filling them with more litter. It felt good seeing that the litter was gone.

And this is the problem with litter: Everyone you talk to says they didn't leave it there, so why should they pick it up? A lot of my friends and I are walking in the pristine forests of Busse Woods and feeling good because we made a difference. We picked up a lot of litter.

And it doesn't stop here: After fishing in Kentucky one year, I decided to pick up a bag or two of litter. While doing this, a local fisherman came over and was really embarrassed to learn that I was from Illinois picking up litter in Kentucky! He said, ''Kentuckians should be picking up that litter.'' He then apologized and helped me finish cleaning up the area.

This whole scenario exploded into the first annual Busse Lake shoreline cleanup, held in 1997 when 200 volunteers picked up 500 large bags of litter, exposing some shorelines and woods to a beauty never seen before.

This month volunteers again are welcome to come and see the litter on the ground and do something about it. Please do your part and help us continue to keep Busse Woods pristine. Pickup tools, gloves, bags, etc., are provided.

There will be a free picnic after the event, with hot dogs and refreshments.

The event is Saturday, April 24, between 9 a.m. and noon at Grove 24. Enter off Higgins Road (Illinois 72), a quarter-mile east of Interstate 290 (Illinois 53).

Chuck Thompson,
Mount Prospect


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