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ESF Chemistry Students Win Award for Stream Clean Up

130 students cleaned portions of Butternut, Limestone and Chittenago Creeks in April

SYRACUSE - Chemistry students from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry earned first place honors in a nationwide competition for their Adopt-A-Stream project.

The chemistry students won $500 in the American Chemical Society's "Adopt-a-Stream" College Student Club Contest. The contest was open to colleges and universities in the United States and Puerto Rico.

More than 130 students enrolled in general chemistry cleaned small sections of Butternut Creek in Jamesville, Limestone Creek in Fayetteville and Manlius, and Chittenango Creek above and below the falls in April. Students also conducted water quality assessments on the trio of creeks. In addition to run-of-the-mill litter, students removed parts of a car, large amounts of metal, a refrigerator, a trawling motor and roller blades.

"Despite the trash, the streams appeared to be in good health with a good population of macroinvertebrates and normal levels of expected ions," said ESF chemistry professor Kelley Donaghy. "However, it was noted that all of the streams had low water levels and high temperatures for this time of year."

Entries were judged on audience participation, complexity of event execution, community participation, community needs met by the project.

The clean up was conducted in conjunction with Project Watershed, Trout Unlimited, East Syracuse Minoa High School (ESM) and the local section of the American Chemical Society.