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The Friends of the Chemung River Watershed recently thanked Elmira College students for volunteering to clean trash and debris along the Chemung River by presenting them with a Volunteer Award. While any student could volunteer, members of the EC Environmental Club spearheaded the clean-up sessions with assistance from Dr. Trevor Browning, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and EC Environmental Club Advisor.
“The work we do with the Friends of the Chemung River Watershed is extremely valuable to our students,” said Browning. “They become a greater part of our community by being good stewards of our watershed. This partnership is almost completely student-driven and allows them to develop relationships with the Chemung River Friends organization independently from the College and begin making connections. I am extremely proud of all their hard work.”
Over seven weeks, EC students actively removed trash and debris from the following locations along the river:
“The students dedicated two hours each week during their busy semesters and made a huge impact on the cleanliness of our river and surrounding trails,” said Karen Charnetski, Outreach Coordinator for the Chemung River Friends. “They worked hard and their dedication was so refreshing. They truly cared about making a difference.”
Owen Mascaro ’26, Co-President of the EC Environmental Club, went with Browning to receive the award.
"We feel the cleanups are important because they're an activity that helps the environment and brings us closer to the community,” said Mascaro. “We’re able to see the impact of our efforts right away. On some of our trips, we received heartfelt thanks from community members, underscoring the immediate impact of our efforts. Seeing the amount of trash we removed and experiencing the community's appreciation reinforces the importance of our actions."
Mascaro shared that the Environmental Club plans to continue volunteering once the weather warms up. Charnetski added that the Chemung River Friends looks forward to working with Browning and the Environmental Club members again in the spring.