The Conservation Club will collaborate with the City of Hillsdale’s recreation department, proposing a project which would implement fishing line receptacles into Baw Beese Lake this spring.
“Everyone in the club is super passionate about plastic in the environment,” said senior Andrea Wallace, president of the Conservation Club. “Plastic has definitely been a theme for us this semester. It’s exciting to see that come to fruition and actually do something.”
Junior Jimmy McGrath, the club’s treasurer, has been in contact with Hillsdale’s recreation department as well as a company that recycles fishing line for free.
“Basically all we’re doing is building the receptacles for this, and then we’ll send it in to this company for recycling,” McGrath said. “Obviously the goal is to reduce pollution in the water.”
The club has also taken on smaller projects.
“We pulled five tires out of St. Joseph River along with about 10 bags of trash,” McGrath said. McGrath also plans on fostering a better relationship between the college and the town.
“We’re neighbors just like they are,” he said. “We feel it’s only right for us to be good stewards.”
Michelle Loren, director of Hillsdale’s recreation department, expressed delight when she found out about Hillsdale’s conservation club.
“This was the first I had ever heard of the group existing on campus. I was pleasantly surprised to learn they existed and had taken an interest in our community’s outdoor resources,” Loren said in an email. “They had done all their research with regard to the receptacles: benefits, construction, and placement. All the city had to do was give its blessing and help plan the placement of them.”
McGrath and the Conservation Club understand the importance of these receptacles in Hillsdale.
“Fishing lines can really interfere by getting tangled up with birds,” McGrath said. “They can also ingest them which don’t break down very easily in their stomach.”
McGrath explained man’s duty to preserve and protect the environment.
“We’re supposed to be caretakers of our common home,” he said. “We’ve all got to live here on Earth, and it’s important for us to recognize that we want to make it a better place to live.”
The club said it hopes it can make conservation a more forefront idea among conservatives.
“The club’s goal is twofold: one, it’s to do conservation work, but two, it’s to advocate for conservation. That’s especially important at a place like Hillsdale where people have a lot of misconceptions about stewardship,” Wallace said. “I think as conservatives and as Christians, we should be motivated to respect what God gave us.”