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(MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK – March 5, 2007) Illegal dumps are a big mess and a big deal. Just ask Edmonson County Solid Waste Coordinator Pat Prunty and the 13 volunteers who recently cleaned up a dump in the old rock quarry on Highway 728.
“We hauled off 1.32 tons of junk,” said Prunty. “Household waste, to automobile parts, to bed springs. The county, State Fish and Wildlife, and Kentucky Environmental Protection are working closely with the landowner to monitor this site. Any future dumping will be prosecuted. It’s illegal, it’s ugly, and it hurts the land.”
The volunteers were members of the WKU/NPS Biology Intern Field Course, along with Student Conservation Association Intern Emily Booth, of New York, and four Mammoth Cave National Park employees. The dump was directly above Big Branch Creek, which flows into the Nolin River in Mammoth Cave National Park.
“For the students, water quality was the lesson today,” said Mammoth Cave Ecologist Rick Olson, who helped Prunty coordinate the cleanup. “The class is designed to get the student-interns out of the class room and into the field to put principles into practice. The experience helps make them competitive candidates in the job market after graduation.”
“The slope above the creek is a steep one, and everything had to be dragged by hand up the slope to the dumpster provided by the county,” added Olson. “The students received true hands-on experience today.”
Follow the water – Big Branch Creek, to Nolin, and into the Green River, through Mammoth Cave National Park, and beyond.
“Cleanups like this one can keep pollutants out of the rivers, improving habitat for fish and wildlife,” said Prunty.
- NPS -