Hardin County high schoolers celebrate 10th year cleaning up Ohi - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Hardin County high schoolers celebrate 10th year cleaning up Ohio River

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HARDIN COUNTY --  High school students took to the Ohio River, cleaning up thousands of pounds of trash along the banks.

The 10th annual cleanup day gave local student's much more than a day off school.

"I've been waiting for this, we're getting out of school and we're about to pick up the river," explained Hardin County Junior Brandon Fricker.

As they got on the boat, Fricker and his classmates had no idea what they'd find polluting the banks of the Ohio.

The students would find out almost immediately that it's littered with trash.

"How did a tire get all the way out here?" asked another student.

From tires, plastic bottles, action figures, and duck decoys the students picked it all up.

Hardin County High School partners with living lands and waters, an organization focused on keeping our waterways clean.

"I was never really an environmentalist growing up," said Living Lands and Waters employee Dan Breidenstein.

That was until Breidenstein found living lands and waters.

"Fell in love with it, changed my college major and interned with living lands and waters and the rest is history, now I'm living on the barge seven months out of the year," added Breidenstein.

Now he's helping kids understand why keeping the river clean is so important.

"It's crazy how much trash there is, people just throwing stuff out their window and not caring," added Fricker.

Prompting these students to teach the litterbugs out there a lesson, so they don't have to pick up their mess.

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