Rainy Day Rangers: Altamont Creek Students Brave the Weather to Clean Up the Community

Is it worth it to do a neighborhood clean-up in the pouring rain? Storm Drain Rangers at Altamont Creek Elementary School think so!

By Haley Thiltgen, Environmental Educator

The 2018 rainy season had gotten off to a slow start in northern California. However, on March 1st, a single storm poured more rainfall on the Bay Area in one day than in the entire month of February. On that very day, the fourth grade students from Altamont Creek Elementary School had planned a neighborhood clean-up…outside.

In the KIDS for the BAY Storm Drain Rangers program, fourth graders in Ms. Stovall and Ms. Kaloustian’s class learned about their connection to the San Francisco Bay and the local watershed. They knew that, as the rain fell in Livermore, it would travel into storm drains, to the Altamont Creek behind their school and eventually flow into the San Francisco Bay, along with any pollution it picked up. The students were looking forward to an opportunity to take action against pollution and no storm, large or small, could stop them! In preparation, they strapped on their boots, zipped up their coats, and grabbed their umbrellas to battle the weather.

Our young environmentalists cleaned up plastics, paper, aluminum and other sources of pollution that contaminated their local watershed and recorded their findings. Many students shrieked in excitement as they left their class and the rain began to fall. “I am really happy to help the earth; it’s only rain!” Isabel said optimistically as she strode along the creek looking for trash.

After drying off, the students analyzed their data in the classroom. Together, they had picked up 1,002 pieces of trash! “I liked picking up each piece of trash because it makes a big difference,” Tarini shared. “I feel proud because I picked up trash which will help our environment,” chimed in Dhanush, squeezing water out of his socks with a chuckle.

Despite the rain, the Storm Drain Rangers were able to take action and prevent 1,002 pieces of pollution from washing into the watershed along with the rain. The fourth graders will be sharing what they have learned with the entire community of Altamont Creek Elementary later this month, in a Schoolwide Assembly. One student named Emma, leaves us with an important lesson to think about: “Helping animals and plants is helping mother earth and that is always worth it.”

KIDS for the BAY