Black Butte School’s Parent Teacher Organization made an engaging project out of cleaning up dispersed campsites in the Metolius Basin at the end of May. photo provided
Black Butte School’s Parent Teacher Organization made an engaging project out of cleaning up dispersed campsites in the Metolius Basin at the end of May. photo provided
As reported in The Nugget last week, there is concern about the increase in dispersed camping throughout the National Forest. Camp Sherman residents have seen firsthand the negative effects in the Metolius Basin: trash, human waste, and fire hazards.

Community members have taken action.

The Metolius Basin Clean Up Contest, a community-wide project spearheaded by Jennie Sharp and sponsored by the Black Butte School Parent Teacher Organization, took place May 26-31. Individuals and families set off with a mission to clean up their beloved forests, competing in the following four categories:

1. Most pounds of trash collected.

2. Greatest number of hours logged.

3. Greatest number of campsites cleaned up.

4. Greatest number of illegal campfire rings decommissioned.

Those who scored highest in a category won a $25 gift card to a local business, including Paulina Springs Books, Spoons, Hike-n-Peaks, and The Paper Place. Others who participated earned gift certificates to the Camp Sherman Store, which donated $55 of prizes. A $100 cash grand prize was awarded to the contestant with the highest totals across all categories. Special recognition went to the weirdest item (a 1990s flip phone) and most useful item collected (fly fishing reel).

The contest’s successes were announced to students during a daily school meeting via Zoom: 25 people spent 95 total hours cleaning up 64 dispersed campsites and decommissioning 22 illegal fire rings. This resulted in a whopping 262 total pounds of garbage collected. One family even collected a mattress.

Stewardship is an important aspect to students’ education at Black Butte School, and the contest provided an opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment and community. As a part of their schoolwork, they created signs to promote the contest and “Leave No Trace” ethics, which were set out in Camp Sherman before the holiday weekend. Many worked alongside their parents picking up trash during the contest; the grand prize winner logging over 12 hours of work.

For more information, visit www.blackbutte.k12.or.us/stewardship and watch a video, “How to Rehabilitate a Campsite,” created in partnership with Pete Blau of the Metolius Basin Institute.