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Talking Trash

Last Sunday, the Students for the BFS pitched in for a trash pickup at the BFS. Unfortunately some areas of the BFS have quite a lot of trash. Before the field station was fenced, some locals dumped trash on the grounds — in fact, I’ve been told that the Claremont Colleges used the area for a dump. People outside the station also throw trash over the fence. And some previous students and researchers have neglected to remove their flags, traps, and other equipment.

Trash on the BFS is not only unsightly, making a poor impression on any visitors, it can harm the animals that live here. Animals that fall into old pitfall traps can’t get out and die. Animals can be cut by broken glass or sharp metal. And plastic trash is particularly problematic. Plastic can degrade to smaller and smaller pieces, but it never completely disappears. The plastic pieces can be ingested by animals, and animals can get entangled in larger pieces of plastic. Here is evidence that at least one BFS coyote ate a plastic bag:

Coyote scat containing a plastic bag. ©Harsi Parker.

For this day’s work the Students for the BFS targeted the area along the College Avenue entrance to the Claremont University Graduate Housing and the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. They picked up trash on the BFS side of the fence all the way from the Botanic Garden down to Foothill Blvd. And what a lot of trash there was! The students picked up many old beer, wine, and liquor bottles…

Michele Kaufman looks skeptically at an old beer bottle. ©Nancy Hamlett.

Miranda Holeton picks up a wine bottle. ©Nancy Hamlett.

…tons of broken glass, broken chunks of plastic, lots of ancient food and beverage tin cans, aluminum cans, old marker flags and flagging tape, some red plastic cups deployed as pitfall traps, plastic stakes, plastic bags, deflated Mylar balloons, styrofoam peanuts, styrofoam cups, food wrappers, a broken ceramic cup, a vintage Firestone tire (probably from the 1930s or 1940s)…

Lindon Pronto with his haul, including the vintage tire. ©Nancy Hamlett.

…metal objects and pieces of metal, a golf ball, a tennis ball, and a basketball. Altogether the students collected two large garbage cans to overflowing plus the items too large to fit in the cans:

Steve Nagler, who lent his truck to the effort, with the trash haul – two garbage cans full, the tire, a large rusty pipe, and a basketball. ©Nancy Hamlett.

There is still more trash to pick up, and SBFS will be continuing their work days. Any BFS Users who would like to join them can email Lindon Pronto (lindon.pronto@gmail.com) or Michele Kaufman (michele_kaufman12@pitzer.edu) for information.

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